Review Round Up: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s Globe

We take a look at what is being said about Elle While’s production of Shakespeare’s comedy now playing at the Shakespeare’s Globe.

(C) Helen Murray

Broadway World: *** “Admittedly not a vintage production of this particular play, there are still plenty of moments to enjoy and I applaud the Globe’s creative teams for continuing to be inventive; there are many who would prefer this theatre to only put on ‘traditional’ productions, but I, for one, am wholeheartedly against that. Sometimes experiments work, sometimes they don’t – but it’s always worth a try.”

Time Out: *** ” The all-female, WI-ish Mechanicals are fun, especially Mariah Gale’s head girl-style Bottom. The genderfluid quartet of lovers are par for the course these days, but ‘I, Joan’ star Isobel Thom is great as an atypically sensible Hermia, who is mortified by the increasing depths of nonsense her friends descend into when Puck spikes them with love magic. And Jack Laskey and Anne Odeke’s raucously affectionate Theseus and Hippolyta are a nice break from the frosty couple of current orthodoxy. I was also a fan of takis’s pleasingly OTT, ‘Labyrinth’-style costumes.”

The Guardian: *** “There is little cohesion to the chaos. Nothing can match the boldness of Terry’s performance, and the magic can’t quite find its feet with the fairies. But this ensemble piece is full of bright, playful moments, and the flighty charm of the play’s woodland shenanigans breezes this Midsummer night along.”

The Reviews Hub: *** “A Midsummer Night’s Dream has a lot of lofty ambitions, and is well-delivered by a superb cast who handle the central lovers’ plot, and the genuinely quite funny play-within-a-play subplot, but its lack of magic and the confusing stylistic choices, with sudden bursts of random physical moments and musical pieces, jar.”

The Upcoming: **** “While the forest set is very simple, the dazzling musical accompaniment certainly is not: composer James Maloney and musical director Zac Gvi transport us to a transcendent land of fairies and enchantment. The jazzy opening score compared to the whimsical percussion used when magic is present is nothing short of amazing. Zands Duggan’s tuned percussion creates an eerie indication of an interference the lovers have tried so hard to avoid. Without the percussion and jazz sounds at the beginning and climax, the difference between the fairies and the mortals would not be felt.”

The Stage: **** “Elle While’s fresh production of the Shakespearean summer favourite, featuring the Globe’s artistic director Michelle Terry as Puck, delivers a magical mix of darkness and moonshine.”

WhatsOnStage: **** “The spirited magic and the darkly comedic are given such air to breathe that this is a production that draws its audience in with a good natured but naughtily mischievous wink. While is canny enough to allow the comedy to reach heights of ridiculousness and knows exactly when to put the brakes on and pause for the quieter moments too.”

iNews: **** “There’s excellence too from Marianne Oldham as Titania, who slumbers in an exotic-looking hammock-cum-Neptune’s-fishing-net while she dreams of her new furry-eared crush. Accessible, witty and meaningful: this is exactly what the Globe should be doing.”

London *** “Terry is always a pleasure to encounter at this, or any, address, her command of the language so complete that she finds a playfulness where others might not. “I go, I go, look how I go,” she says, vampily drawing a laugh on this simplest-seeming of lines. Elsewhere, her Puck is a strange, supernatural creature who looks of a piece with the tendrils that seem visibly to be crawling up the side of the Globe’s sturdy oak pillars. (The design is by Paul Williams, who goes by the solo moniker Wills.)”

Everything Theatre: ***** “This is one of those shows where you could write a whole book about the interpretation, the production, the costumes, the cast, and the musicians. Unfortunately, my editor would hastily send my ramblings back, but there really aren’t enough words to demonstrate how much I loved this production. It truly brought that childhood love for the work back to life, and although the course of our love for the Bard never can run smooth, with historical perceptions and attitudes, this is a play well worthy of the adoration of a modern audience.”

The Telegraph: **** “The Globe’s fresh take on Shakespeare’s magical comedy is closer to a hallucinatory nightmare than a romantic romp.”

All That Dazzles: **** “Toeing the line between a traditional, straight-forward take and a bold re-imagining for a new audience, Elle While’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream has moments which detract from its overall appeal. Nevertheless, the sheer charisma of its core players and the command of the artform on display from the array of creatives helping to hone these fine performances is deeply impressive. Suggesting in its final moments that it could be the source of the dreaded “all a dream” endings, this Midsummer Night’s Dream is one worth experiencing.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream continues to play until the 12th August.

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