A Midsummer Night's Dream - Review
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Lyric Hammersmith, London
Filter Theatre's 'A Midusmmer Night's Dream' was performed at the Lyric Hammersmith to wide acclaim in 2012. Sadly I missed it then due to the fact I myself was doing 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in Oxford. I was lucky enough to catch their produciton of 'Twelfth Night' at The Park Theatre, London and what a show that was! Filter's production of Dream (as I expected) is just as mad and intense!
I consider myself (at times) quite a purist and yet when Shakespeare is treated with SUCH utter anarchy and yet utterly respected at the same time, in my opinion, it absolutle works! If you are going to go all out madcap, go ALL OUT! as Filter absolutley does. This is quite possibly one of the funniest and best 'Dreams' I have seen, probably ever! (Julie Taymor's New York production comes very close). I have to say that I have seen the play so many times that I do worry if it can ever be re-told in a way that will tell me something new (not that I know everytihng there is to kow abotu the play!) but this production just takes away the drawing board and explodes onto the stage with sheer fun and delight.
Filter completely disregard some of the text at times, particularly in the mechanical scenes, and replace Shakespeare's dialogue with "modern" prose and "naturalist" and colloquial speech, or rather, something that is more familiar to us and yet it still portrays the truth of what is happening in the mechanical scenes beautifully.
Walls are smashed into, Oberon (dressed in lyrcra as a superhero) smashed through the paper ceiling and walls, Puck crashes through the set (Fosters can in hand) dressed as Lyric Theatre Stage hand and at one point the "audience member" who is "filling in" for Bottom has his Sainsbur'y shopping (he left on stage when "volunteering" to fill in) raided and the food is lobbed accross the stage during a mass food fight with the cast and audience! (in Twelfth Night pizza's were ordered in to the auditorium) for someone experiencing the play for the first time they may miss out on some of Shakespeare's poetry but they do get a vivid, refreshing and zestful performance which tells this magical and dreamlike story with it's own magical and dreamlike staging.