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Wilton’s Music Hall, London    

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
5.0Reviewer's rating

Your reviewer doesn’t have much sense of direction, and even with the help of an A-Z Map he had difficulty finding his way from Tower Hill station to the little alley tucked away off Cable Street (fortunately, no longer embattled) wherein nestles the old Victorian music hall, Wilton’s. But the journey was well worth the effort. The Watermill Theatre Ensemble were presenting their version of one of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies, and what a brilliant take on the old boy’s masterwork it was! In an austere auditorium with few props, they managed to convey the comic essence of the play, moving the action along with no longueurs, and remaining faithful to the Elizabethan language (with a few “modern instances”) while rendering it perfectly intelligible to a modern audience.

And palatable too. The actors are also talented musicians, playing a whole variety of instruments, and the integration of modern music into the action of the play gives it a whole new appeal. Songs like I Put A Spell On You, Blue Moon and Cupid (Draw Back Your Bow) fit very nicely into the scheme of things, and ramp up the enjoyment level no end! The costumes too have been artfully selected so as to take the play out of any fixed historical period, or the present day come to that, and make it both old and timeless.

The actress who plays Bottom (yes, women take on some of the male roles) was injured in an accident a few days ago, and Victoria Blunt had to step in at short notice. It was suggested that I might like to give her a bit more time to settle into the role before reviewing the play, but there was no need. If anything, she stole the show! Mind you, the rest of the cast were very good too, doubling (or even tripling) up as Athenian aristos, fairies and rude mechanicals. Talking of which, some of the buffoonery was rude in the other sense, and I particularly liked Emma McDonald as a delightfully lascivious Titania. No gender swapping there!

  • Drama
  • By Wilian Shakespeare
  • Director : Paul Hart
  • Presented by the Watermill Theatre Ensemble
  • Wilton’s Music Hall, London    
  • Until: Saturday 15th February 2020
  • Time : 7.30 p.m. (running time : 2 hours plus 20-minute interval)

About The Author

Trustee & Reviewer (UK)

Richard McKee is a lawyer, and used to be a judge, but despite that (or because of that) he likes comedy, cabaret and pantomime.  These are the things that he reviews for Plays to See, for which – in view of his great age – he is also a trustee.  He leaves the serious stuff to the young!  But seriously, though, he thinks it is a great idea for young reviewers to hone their critical faculties and communication skills by writing for Plays to See, and feels privileged to be involved in its current expansion.

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