Didn’t get an invite to the royal wedding? Couldn’t hobnob it with English aristocrats? Lost the chance to eavesdrop in the forest of their hidden desires? Missed coochie-cooing at fairy imps in floral finery?
No fear, King Theseus and Hippolyta will be repeating their nuptials over and again at the Guild Theatre, Rockdale, until June 9.
And you’re most welcome.
Shakespeare’s best known comedy – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – is about love found, love lost, love fought for, and love renewed.
With his own wedding looming, King Theseus is called upon to arbitrate a dispute between Hermia and her father over her refusal to marry Demetrius: for she loves Lysander and he, her.
But Demetrius won’t give her up. Helena, only recently cast off by Demetrius, will betray her childhood friend to get him back.
Faced with an impossible choice Hermia and Lysander run away to an Athenian wood. Demetrius follows hotly on their heels and Helena on his.
Under cover of night the fairy realm awakes and watches. Elven King Oberon charges his mischievous imp, Puck, with administering a love potion to Demetrius to re-invigorate his love for Helena.
While he’s at it, they even a score with Oberon’s fairy queen, Titania. She is made to fawn over the first dolt she sees – Bottom, the would-be actor. Over-eager Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius and midsummer mayhem ensues.
It’s a beautiful production. Stapleton makes good use of the creative talents of costume designer Leone Sharp, set designers Jim Searle and David Pointon, and lighting designers Roger Hind and Ruth Lowry.
Tall trunks rise from dense low foliage lending depth to the stage and projected shadows of branches and camouflage extend the world of the stage into the aisles of the auditorium.
Costumes are lavish. Elaborate headpieces of bone, feather and foliage created by Jodi Burns give a nod to popular images of Celtic goddesses and the Green Man.
The tone of the performance is set early by Kim Jones’ feisty Hermia. Her energy and passion are carried on in Rachael Howard’s Helena. Neither are biddable Elizabethan gentlewomen.
Rather they’re rebellious, shrewish, smart and strong, modern women. It works. Rosemary Ghazi delights as the incorrigible mischief-maker, Puck.
Despite the crowd-pleasing, ham acting in the play within the play, Calib James’ big but disciplined interpretation of Thisbe shone through. He’s an actor to look out for.
Overall, A Midsummer Night’s Dream can boast good performances from its ensemble cast.
A comedy with plenty of colour, fairies, romance, clear annunciation, and the crowd-pleasing play within the play, make this a very easy introduction to Shakespeare for young theatre goers.
This is the Guild Theatre of Rockdale’s first offering of Shakespeare since 1979. It’s charming. Hopefully they will revisit the Bard a lot more regularly.
The Guild Theatre is located in Walz Street, Rockdale.
Tickets are $25/$20.
- Bookings: 9521 6358 or guildtheatre.com.au.