Today was a Weasel Globe Outing. We were seeing A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was slightly concerned it would be a bit dreary after the extraordinary Emma Rice version of a few years ago. My fears were unnecessary. It was brilliant.
Something that did surprise me was the fact that the director seemed to have free reign to do whatever he wanted which was one of the reasons given for the Globe getting rid of Ms Rice. I can only think there was some other reason for her shortened AD contract.
Not that the Sean Holmes version of The Dream wasn’t extraordinarily inventive and magical and everything The Dream should be. He played with gender fluidity, racial norms and language to an incredible extent.
Castwise, there were so many fantastic performers it’s difficult to pick one out but, for me at least, Bottom (played by Jocelyn Jee Esien) was just superb. She stole the show with her shenanigans. I kept anticipating her next entrance. Her work as the ass was just sublime.
Something I think didn’t work was the fact that the cast read Titania’s dialogue because she had lost her voice (that’s in real life not as some strange interpretation of gender politics though it worked very well with Hippolita having a piece of ‘Fragile’ tape across her mouth). It made it difficult to follow who was actually speaking and to whom. In saying that, Victoria Elliott was an excellent looking and moving Titania and I felt for her given her lack of voice.
I wasn’t that keen on Peter Bourke as Theseus/Oberon. I thought a younger, bolder, louder actor would have been better. It’s not so much a reflection on his abilities but the rest of the cast was so incredibly vibrant and full of life that he just appeared a bit irrelevant.
One stroke of absolute genius was the casting of Starveling from a member of the groundlings. Our Starveling was performed by a chap called Marius who had the time of his life and was very funny without trying. His delivery of his one line was well done indeed and received the loudest and longest cheer I think I’ve ever heard at the Globe.
I was a bit concerned with the idea that Puck would be played by almost the whole cast but I think it worked really well. It also gave the cast a chance to play around with mixed identities as well. It also says that we’re all Puck, that we’re mischievous and cheeky and everything Puckish. It makes us complicit in the antics. And I quite liked that.
I guess the true measure of any comedy is the amount of laughter it generates and this production generated pretty much non-stop laughter. There were so many wonderful touches of humour that the tears were rolling down cheeks everywhere. One case in point was when Hippolita entered carrying a shotgun and dragging a full sized deer behind her following their hunt in the forest. A beautiful bit of visual comedy.
I can’t really leave this review without mentioning the brilliant use of a plastic pipe for the all important chink. Very clever if somewhat rude.
Meanwhile, as usual for a Weasel Globe Outing, we were ten: John, John and Jon, Lorna (Darren was at a gig so missed the fun), Jolly, Maya (probably misspelled), Bev, Anthea and Lindy…and me, of course. We met at the Anchor and moaned about the lack of pub abilities, as usual, then retired to our box for a wonderful picnic of various yumblies.
After the play we headed for the George where beer was consumed and stories exchanged.
It was an excellent day filled with perfect company, entertainment, refreshment and joy.