A Midsummer Night’s Dream has to be one of life’s most enriching theatrical experiences. Even when the Director, Matthew Lenton, sets it in mid-winter, Shakespeare’s language still has the power to charm, excite, soothe – when one can hear it. A few folk in the bar at the interval were expressing difficulty catching the words of the female actors. Something of a contrast to the over-loud Guid Sisters.
The counter-indicative weather did nothing for me. I really want my Midsummer Night to be warm and filled with the buzz of wings, whether of fairies or bees. I found it just too incredible that everyone would go off into the woods in swirling snow. However, what the cast then did with the physical theatre of being out in the cold was at times very funny. Miles Yekinni and Kevin Mains as Midsummer Night’s Demetrius and Lysander were hilariously intertwined in a hopeless wrestling match that threatened to stop the performance.
Ifan Meredith gave a somewhat emasculated performance as Oberon/Theseus. I wanted more – more authority, more gravitas and, as Oberon, more sinister. Jordan Young, on the other hand, was having a ball playing Bottom and we enjoyed that. Maybe Pyramus and Thisbe slid over into excess, but Barnaby Power was a splendid Peter Quince and the Mechanicals were a deserved highlight.
I’ve seen many, many productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This wasn’t the best, but a good night out and great to see the members of the Young Lyceum getting a chance on stage.
Johnny McKnight’s Cinderella is up next at the Royal Lyceum. Starts 29th November.