Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was met with laughter and admiration on Wednesday in a modern-day adaptation of the iconic play as part of the Liverpool Shakespeare Festival 2012.
The Lodestar Theatre Company put on the show at the Royal Court Theatre which will make up half of the festival, the other being a performance of Macbeth set in gangland Liverpool.
Shakespearean lines recited in strong Scouse accents may not be everyone’s preference but the changes added a new dimension to a story that has been told so many times.
A hard-core party Puck began the show, leaning against the side of the stage wearing tinted sunglasses, a furry animal hat and ripped tie dye clothes with green body paint smeared across his arms. He captivated the audience as he creepily swaggered across the stage.
The first act commenced with little scenery except for a large piece of scaffolding which did little to ignite intrigue. All this soon changed as the characters entered the mystical forest in a club-like scene with green strobe lights, dance music and fairies dancing on scaffolding poles.
Jack Lord’s enigmatic performance as Bottom stole the show and demanded one of the biggest laughs from the audience as he entered the stage walking like a donkey complete with ears, tail and teeth. Laughter grew as he began to dance across the stage and rap before waking Queen of the Fairies, Titania, played by Hollyoaks’ Zoe Lister.
The four love-struck friends gave an energetic and convincing performance. The role of Helena played by Harriet Bower particularly stood out as she recited her lines with attitude whilst puffing on her inhaler and stomping around in creepers.
The costumes and inclusion of modern-day music such as ‘Call Me Maybe’ and ‘Foxy Lady’ made the show accessible and appealing, with touches like love interest Hermia wearing heart-printed tights and a pink sweater with ‘Love‘ printed across it.
The Rude Mechanicals provided the climax of the show as they performed their poorly-practiced play at the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. After wearing high-visibility jackets throughout the show they now donned tight-fitting leotards.
The comical death of Pyramus and Thisby portrayed as a man in drag complete with blonde wig, red lipstick and giant chicken fillets were particular highlights.
The timeless tale mixed with a modern twist and a charismatic cast made for a hilarious night to remember for both Shakespeare fanatics and novices alike.
Memorable, comical and a little bit magical, Max Rubin’s vision of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is, if you are willing to be surprised, brilliant.