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Midsummer Night’s Dream

Published Tuesday 30th of June 2015 02:13:31 PM

In performances on 25th and 26th June, Shakespeare’s magical play received a contemporary twist by lower school pupils of King Edward’s Witley directed by Miss Julia Collington. As GK Chesterton famously remarked, a good production of this masterpiece produces “an uproarious communion between the public and the play” and from early on the company had the audience spellbound. Set in ancient Athens the play portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, Duke of Athens, and his bride Hippolyta, weaving a tale of the adventures of four young Athenian lovers (Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius and Helena) and a group of actors (The Rude Mechanicals) who are bewitched and manipulated by the mischievous fairies of the forest, in which most of the action takes place. The four principal characters delivered good performances with special mention for Helena (Ella Anderson) who won our hearts with her flirty and vibrant characterisation of a coquettish lover. The simple set, evocative of a magical garden, established atmosphere as the whole cast weaved a spell of mirth and good humour, love and passion - ‘the course of true love never did run smooth’. Maybe first night nerves, but one critical point, delivery of the dialogue was at a somewhat cracking pace making it sometimes difficult to catch all the lines – breathe slowly guys and take time to enjoy those great lyrics. That aside, some solid performances, particularly from the Mechanicals’ “play within a play” where a boisterous Bottom (Dontae Jacobs), the errant weaver, charmed us with his exuberance and comic genius, and cheeky cameo character Snout (Julian Sanchez) as the “Wall” between Pyramus' and Thisbe's gardens. We particularly enjoyed the beat box renditions of Bottom and Quince (Amna Jamil), and the fairies’ version of “Lullaby” giving the play a truly contemporary feel, and in the words of the Bard ‘we come not to offend, but with good will. To show our simple skill, that is the true beginning of our end’. Well done everyone.
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