A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
“The course of true love never did run smooth,” utters a besotted Lysander (Michael Elcock) to the object of his affection, Hermia (Gabrielle Brooks), and with that, the pair set off on a whirlwind adventure of their own, fusing romance with risk, hoping that their love for one another will find its way. When Lysander is slandered by Hermia’s father, who prefers that his daughter marry the eligible Demetrius (Pierro Niel-Mee) instead, a brewing cauldron of lies and deceit surfaces, which sees two couples navigate the trials and tribulations of life – of what it is to be human.
Never has there been a more enthralling rendition of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream than when Dominic Hill’s revival of the play took to the stage of the glorious Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. A visual masterpiece, this production is the epitome of the performing arts. The play is contemporised, yet faithful to the original; Hill, together with the design, costumes and props team, headed by the hugely talented Rachael Canning, Lucy Martin and Chris Lake, overlays the narrative with a beautiful folkloric gloss, portraying picture-perfect scenes of a fantastical nature, which include angelic fairy queens in snow-white hammocks, breezy forests on stilts, convincing puppet babies and glow-in-the-dark balloons. As if this were not gripping enough, out comes some illusionist activity, adding that extra dose of magic to the show.
The cast’s energy is infectious, with particular stand-out performances coming from Remy Beasley, as the paranoid damsel-in-distress turned warrior, Helena, and Brooks, the innocent, yet feisty Hermia. For so long, Shakespeare’s plays have set the English Literature curriculum in schools; Hill’s retelling has made a musical out of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, giving it that all-important edge, a fun factor, where children and adults alike will see the celebrated playwright’s work in a whole new light. It’s a funny, fruitful and elegant production, and a trip to this spectacle will have audiences zone out of reality and be wowed by the power of storytelling for two hours straight.
Photos: Jane Hobson
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre from 28th June until 27th July 2019. Book your tickets here.