In this endearing production, Playbox give us a Dream that is full of colour, charm, and a hint of danger. Here are sprites, there fairies: lovers and enemies merge and mingle in the moonlight. With very few props, some clever lighting, costumes and above all great casting, the enchanted woods come alive.
Which is pretty much par for the course with Playbox, who rarely fail to deliver a good show. This production has some special gems. For one, there’s the relationship between the two male heroes Lysander (Sam Bain) and Demetrius (Noah Lukehurst). They have a robust, laddish dynamic which is for the most part very funny. But there’s an edge to their banter: when they misguidedly reject their true loves there is real violence in their threats towards them. Love has a dark edge.
Syd Sutherland’s delivers a memorable portrayal of Bottom. He is arguably the star of the show: here arch, there dramatic; everywhere leaping, posturing. Olivia Hass’s Puck is a charmed sprite, knowing and seductive. Hermia (Paige Cooper) and Helena (Dani Burridge) play the outraged maidens well, slapping their untrustworthy beaus with real feeling when they let them down. Nevertheless, their characters are but pawns in a men’s game. Oberon (Alfie Jones) is a troubled soul, yearning for his changeling child; and Titania (Eilidh Evans) is a dignified and gorgeous queen.
If I have one complaint it is that occasionally the speeches felt a bit rushed, particularly by some of the older male characters, so that the diction was lost, and hence the poetry and the sense. But that aside, Playbox’s Dream is a great way to see in the spring and (who knows?) prepare for a warm summer.
Further performances can be seen on April 4 and 7. For further information or to book tickets visit www.playboxtheatre.com.