Only in the Woods

The Garage, Norwich

> The Garage, Norwich

It's incredible how many ways you can bend A Midsummer Night's Dream and still have it come out true. Think about Peter Brook's production, swaying about on stilts...and now picture the whole thing done to a drum-beat with film clips and a new-age aura....well, you're half way to imagining the show I saw last night.

This was a production which focused on the paranoia of young love rather than its delightful confusions. The palette was dark purples and browns, faces were smeared in mud and the mood was primal. The fairies were not just mischievous, they were malevolent sexual predators, taking out their own frustrations by magicking up nastiness for the mortals foolhardy enough to stray into their demesne.

I missed the plot. But you can't have everything.

And if you give a young director and cast the choice between exploring the inner lives of a group of nice, middle-class mortals, or a gang of punked-up zenned out fairies the choice will be clear. Helena, Hermia, Lysander and Demetrius mostly had their story telegraphed to us in high-speed silent film moments. One might almost say, their story was strobed.

But thankfully Oberon (Lawrence Kemp) and Titania (Philippa O'Shaughnessy) were both wonderfully mobile performers, who could make the lyrics fly. And the minutes did not pass like hours.

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