A little bit of magic
'A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM', performed by Blewbury Players, at the Garden
Theatre, Blewbury, from July 19 to 22
On a fine summers evening, Blewburys open air Garden Theatre adds some extra magic to Shakespeares Dream; an ideal play for the setting, as so much of it takes place outdoors.
The Dream is a fairy tale and a comedy, but the humour of Peter Quinces crew is often offset against the rather stodgy saga of the lovers. In Blewbury Players production, however, the lovers gave a breathtaking display of knockabout comedy (literally!) which gave the whole show a tremendous pace. Helena, played by Gill Bailey, and Hermia (Maria Robertson) were two feisty women, who showed Demetrius (James Turpin) and Lysander (Bart Lee) who were the bosses.
Erica Harley was an intense Titania; Steve White as Oberon was a bit of a surprise very touchy-feely, especially with Puck, but generally lively, sprightly and slightly camp. More like the jester than the king. Jack Trewhella was an agile and mischievous Puck, a very promising young actor but he needed to speak a bit more slowly.
The mechanicals were played by Mike Allen (Quince), Tony Loy (Bottom), Finn Clark (Flute), Ron Freeborn (Snout), Pres Wells (Snug) and Marion Armstrong (Starveling). They worked well together and their individual characters stood out Pres Wells was a splendidly diffident lion, and Tony Loy had just the right combination of bluster and bravado. In fact director Jack Murphy succeeded in giving very distinct characterisation to all the cast.
Ed Trewhella was an authoritative Theseus, and Jolyon Kay gave a splendidly plummy portrayal of Philostrate the butler.
The three dances were effective and well executed; the fairies dance in particular added to the magic of the play.
The final scene with the Pyramus and Thisbe play was hilarious, and we had a great evenings entertainment. It was an exciting production from which my lasting impression was the energy and humour of the scenes with the lovers.