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The People's Shakespeare - A Midsummer's Night Dream

with many thanks to Clive Davis for the review and to Richard James, Gerry Clark and Pauline Clark for the photos

(13 May 2011)

Shakespeare is dull, Shakespeare is dusty. Some people are put off the Bard by uninspired teachers who reduce the great man’s works to long, boring lists of similes, metaphors and the dreaded onomatopoeia. As for acting in the plays, well, we tend to think it is reserved for hardened professionals or four hundred year-old stalwarts of am-dram societies. All credit, then, to the indefatigable Richard James and his team for showing that you can round up a cast of local people of all ranges of experience and ability and lead them on a memorable journey through the enchanted forest.
The Bernard Miller Centre’s fire alarm let rip at one point (the dry ice wafting around the stage set it off, apparently) but the actors carried on regardless, and by the end of the evening it was the ringing of cheers that filled the room. David Fisk’s Bottom also won admiring glances, especially when the IT worker-turned-thespian advised his fellow Mechanicals to use Google to search for moonlight. Cannily mixing the modern with the traditional, James’ production, galloped along as Athenians and pixies mingled with moonlighting members of The Fabulous Shirtlifters on a minimalist yet atmospheric set.  
While it is unfair to single out members of a spirited cast, Nick King (Oberon), Lesley Willis (Titania), Susan Rimmer (Puck) and Nick Stopien (Lysander) were a particular delight. In ten years’ time we’ll all be able to say we remember seeing 18 year-old Ryan Campbell Challis - a Redroofs graduate – when he was just starting out on his career. The children who made up Titania’s band of followers were a neat bundle of mischief. Great costumes too. And who would have thought that Lower Road resident Peter Edwards would make such a gorgeous, pouting Thisbe?
Final performances on Sunday afternoon and evening.  

Review by Clive Davis



CLICK HERE FOR EVEN MORE PHOTOS (with thanks to  Pauline Clark)





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