A Shakespeare comedy done right, this play manages to put a modern twist on the well known classic by filling it with quirky characters that look like they’ve picked right out of field in Glastonbury. Although the glitter covered fairies and slapstick group with thick with northern accents aren’t the usual accompaniment to the traditional language, that hasn’t stopped the cast and crew of the Z Theatre Company. They have embraced the silliness with open arms and as a result have produced a play that does not disappoint.
Z Theatre Company have done a perfect job at adding the comedy element to one of Shakespeare’s classics.
Although only about half the length of a traditional Shakespeare play, they managed to fit all of the key elements of A Midsummer Night’s Dream into the time without making it feel too rushed. For those who don’t know, the play follows two sets of lovers, Helena and Demetrius and Hermia and Lysander, as they run away into the woods. Although Hermia and Lysander are madly in love, Demetrius also has deep feelings for Hermia and is desperately trying to get away from the love-crazed Helena. After the fairies witness this mess in the woods, they decide to cast a spell over Demetrius to bring her and Helena together. But everything goes wrong when Puck, the assistant of the Fairy King, Oberon, makes Lysander fall in love with Helena instead.
On the side of this ensues a hilarious subplot about a troupe of performers rehearsing for a play (which we are treated to at the end), one of which also get caught up in the fairies’ tricks. These comedy acts are naturally the stars of the show, bringing about laugh after laugh from the audience. The double act playing Puck are also outstanding, splitting the lines between the two actors and flouncing around the stage in as an entertaining duo of a character.The way the actors embrace the ridiculousness of the situation makes it very easy to forget that this is supposed to be Shakespeare and just enjoy it all.
Not every line and scene was perfectly performed but here that didn’t matter. The well rescued hiccups and improvisations fit perfectly with the atmosphere of the play. Even the musical interludes seemed to fit in, every now and then bringing the characters back to that festival feel as the lights dimmed and the characters onstage began to rave to the music.
Don’t go in expecting traditional Shakespeare. Instead, imagine a Shakespeare pantomime, full of silly jokes and childish comedy that works for people of any age. If you’re looking for a laugh or a break from serious theatre, this show will slot nicely into your schedule. The Z Theatre Company have done a perfect job at adding the comedy element to one of Shakespeare’s classics.