By Lucie Emerson
Don’t miss Midsummer Night’s Dream, back at the Lyric until 19 March 2016. I went to the first night when the place was buzzing, full of locals who had nabbed their free tickets a week before. Oh, and Gary Lineker was there too but we all acted as if we hadn’t noticed him. Very West London.
As the curtain opened, I actually gasped with disappointment at the set, already irritated by a gibbering extra prologue. A few more minutes in, I thought, OK, come on, it’s free. You can leave at the interval. I sadly wondered what they had done to this classic. It felt so distant from the last powerful and glamourous show I had seen there, Bugsy Malone.
And then Puck entered the stage—explosively. This time I jumped in surprise and thought in relief, Let the show begin! Outlandish characters, costumes and surprises abounded and danced on stage, keeping us all in hoots of laughter for the rest of the evening.
The production successfully blends the full host of Shakespearian farce à la 21st century but I will absolutely not be bringing my 11-year-old. It’s crammed with innuendos and plenty of blatant vulgar (or sexy—depends on your taste!), funny moments. I am no expert but I imagine the Bard approving of this modern interpretation—its music, sound effects and twists that delighted our audience in a feeling of cheeky conspiracy.
According to my friend who joined me, Fiona Williams, who is in the theatre world (i.e., she does know what she’s talking about), it’s in keeping with the dynamic style of one of the directors, Sean Holmes. As someone who spends many long nights in rehearsals, Fiona was particularly impressed by the amount of focus and work that obviously went into deconstructing and then rebuilding Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Lyric.
Gag after gag and prop after prop were brought together so carefully like a precarious live jigsaw puzzle. They even managed to further extend the play within a play. Overall a brilliant evening of light entertainment, as it was intended to be. I am purposely telling you no more. No spoiler alerts here.
But be warned, it will not be to everyone’s taste. If you chuckle at this picture of Oberon, you’ll be fine. If you don’t, perhaps you should stick to the Globe. And by the way, there is no interval but it’s short enough to enjoy a drink after the show, even if you don’t have Gary there.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is on now until the 19th of March and you can book online here.
**The Lyric offer up to two free tickets per household to their first nights for people who live or work in Hammersmith & Fulham. Go there on the Friday or Saturday before the first night with the relevant proof. I’m sure it’s subject to availability etc.