REVIEW: A Midsummer Night’s Dream | Everyman | 23.03.15

msnd-everymanDirector, Nick Bagnall’s Midsummer Night’s Dream takes the classic Shakespeare comedy and delves into darker waters with its brooding blues sound and circus style antics. Stephanie Harrison reviews

Designer Ashley Martin develops the dark tone further with a scene quite empty of the usual floating fancies and rainbow of colours we’ve come to expect from the Dream by creating an arresting and unusual look for the production.

It’s fair to say there’s a sinister feel to the fairies too – Titania (Sharon Duncan-Brewster) in faded-disco glory slopes around shoeless whilst Oberon (Garry Cooper) seems a somewhat lecherous evil villain.

The lovers, originally appearing in school uniform pervade the sense of innocence but also a journey into adulthood – a discovery of sexuality. Emma Curtis as Helena uses pause to create comedy which she does with great effect.

The whole production has this conflicted air – darkness & light; innocence & experience; love and hate. The audience is asking are we in a circus, a forest, a night club or indeed a play? This because the mirrored backdrop gives the illusion of the audience being immersed into the performance – taken on this wild evening’s revels.


The rude mechanicals were a personal highlight – bringing fun and frolics to what seem like quite serious proceedings. Dean Nolan is fantastic in the role of Bottom – reminiscent of Brian Blessed – he booms, bosses and bombs across the stage – playing to the audience as they enjoy every minute of his playful pranks.

This is a timeless classic interpreted in a new and exciting way by Bagnall which makes us ask questions about these well-known and loved characters. I found myself asking why Helena and Demetrius (Matt Whitchurch) end the play so discontented and obviously separate – I mean isn’t this supposed to be a comedy where they all live happily ever after? But the more I thought about it the more I was sure it was right. He’s an idiot and she deserves better. What more can you ask of a production than to make you think of a character you assumed you knew in a completely different light? For an alternative dream – head to the Everyman.

Midsummer Night’s Dream runs at the Everyman until Sat 18th April – TICKETS

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