A Midsummer Night's Dream

CAROLINE CULOT Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich


There was magic in the air last night. From prologue to epilogue, the actors kept you captivated with the wonder of Shakespeare, delivering an absolutely first-class performance of what is one of the bard's most tricky plays.

It's a tale of love between two couples, mirrored in the fairy world with a lovers' tiff raging between the two head fairies. The humour comes as the fairies play tricks on the hapless humans causing the course of true love to run anything but smoothly.

Last night there was no weak link – each cast member excelled in his or her part and delivered Shakespeare's language as if it were their own. There was no glossing over the difficult terminology, and that has to be the key to quality.

I have seen many interpretations of this favourite over the years but more bad than good. But last night's production had pace and purpose.

The four main mortal leads, the petite Hermia (Sarah Whiteman), statuesque Helena (Elena Hewett), and their respective lovers Lysander (Mark Jackson) and Demetrius (Asa Cannell) were absolutely perfect.

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Each brought vibrance and energy, each had a vast range able to reach the lows of deep emotion and the highs of pure comedy.

This was echoed in the fairy world with Puck, (played by Freddie Hutchins and Nick Smith), Oberon, (Peter Beck) and Titania, (Louise Brighton).

Of course the last laugh was with Bottom (Hugh Sorrill) and his frustrated “director” Quince (Trevor Burton) who together with their band of Ouzo-drinking friends brought the house down.

Worthy of mention also were the ethereal fairy costumes and evocative set.

A fantastic production – and with tickets still available right up to July 5, one not to miss.

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