The course of true love doesn’t run smooth for long in this Shakespearian comedy. As Duke Theseus and Hippolyta prepare for their wedding, Egeus, an Athenian citizen arrives with a predicament: His daughter Hermia won’t marry the man he intends for her, Demetrius, and instead has fallen for Lysander. Demetrius himself has baggage; he used to love Hermia’s friend Helena but now loves Hermia, much to Helena’s heartbreak. Alongside this, a comically unskilled troop of craftsmen prepare a play for Theseus’ wedding and things begin to take a turn for the worst as they soon fall prey to the strange magic of the woods, where the fairies and sprites lurk.
There wasn’t a single weak link that brought the production down.
The performance, by Brighton University Drama Society, opens with twinkling music onto a minimalist but suggestive set, dressed simply with ivy vines and fairy lights. The subtlety hinted at the enchanting nature of the story. The production overall is very strong, it's well-directed and embellished with a host of particularly beautiful costumes. In fact, a lot of the comedy in the craftsmen’s play comes from the inventiveness of the costume design. Who knew a wall could have such comic timing?
Initially the performance was a little self conscious, but the cast soon warmed up and hardly a slip was made during the play’s two and a half hour duration. It is a commendable achievement in itself to tackle a play of this length, especially added with the density of a Shakespearian script. The cast gave a particularly credible performance; Oscar Stafford shone as the mischievous sprite Puck, giving a playful and energetic performance throughout. There wasn’t a single weak link that brought the production down.
Brighton University Drama Society presented a very enjoyable, charming performance of Shakespeare’s sweet and tangled comedy.