Joe Hill-Gibbins directs this new production of Shakespeare’s comedy starring Jemima Rooper. But what have critics been making of it? 


The Guardian: *** “Hill-Gibbins delivers a third of the play: much lunacy but too little of poetry or love.”

Financial Times: *** ” It’s a reading that digs deep into the disturbing sexual politics in the play. But it is also pretty dour and dispenses with all of the magic and much of the comedy.”

The London Economic: ***** “silent weavings of the spirit (or fairies) explode at the end of director Joe Hill-Gibbins’ interpretation to give us something in the epilogue that is both nightmarish and joyful and brings new meanings to the play’s normal tranquil self.”

Broadway World: ** “If ever you needed proof that you can try too hard to be different, this production is it. There needs to be a careful balance between innovation and the text so that it still feels natural – Hill-Gibbins fails to meet that requirement here.”

The Independent: **** “wonderfully intrepid revival”

WhatsOnStage: **** “This version offers a dark interpretation, set in a thick layer of mud: a gloomy, grubby offering.”

A Younger Theatre:  “The problem with this Young Vic production isn’t that it lacks gimmicks, but that its genre and the performers’ delivery seem to be at odds with each other; and so, the overall experience ends up being inconclusive and underwhelming.”

The Stage: *** “His is a radical reimagining to be sure, one that brutally exposes the febrile depravity lurking underneath the conventional froth, but consider what’s been sacrificed. Gone is the magic. Gone is the humour.”

Exeunt Magazine: “Its surges of intense physical energy, strong performances and offbeat touches mean that this still is an enjoyable watch, despite its frustrations.”

Time Out: *** “it’s such a glum experience you kind of wish it was a bit more trad. It’s a great cast, but they often seem at sea, caught between tragic and comic performances.”

Culture Whisper: *** “Audacious and irreverent, but not quite fresh, this Hill-Gibbins’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream has brilliant moments. But these are eclipsed by some perplexing choices that make murky this Shakespearean fantasy.”

Theatre Cat: ** “If you want to pull off genuinely entertaining, dramatic and moving Shakespeare.  Muddying the waters with panto flourishes does nothing to hide basic failures in storytelling.”

The Times: ** “It’s not a dream, really, but more of a nightmare and proud to be that. Joe Hill-Gibbins, the director, is the opposite of risk averse.”

The Upcoming: ** “Not a nightmare, then, but a Dream to forget the next morning.”

Evening Standard: *** “The abundance of mud makes it impossible for the production to be nimble. It’s wilfully lacking in magic and enchantment. Instead the characters seem bogged down in their messy relationships.”

The Bardette: “Hill-Gibbins has certainly created a nightmarish dream, where the play’s murky darkness rises to the surface. The comedy is in short supply, and romance makes way for sexual desire and jealous revenge.”

There Ought to Be Clowns: “like many a dream, this Dream feels a bit confused and too ephemeral to linger too long in the mind.”

Partially Obstructed View: “There’s definitely dark aspects of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that can be enlightening to pick up on but it’s not a new concept, and sadly in going looking for them Hill-Gibbins has dispensed with the play’s usual strengths without finding new ones to take their place.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream continues to play at the Young Vic until the 1st April. For more information and to book tickets visit:



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