Left – Mia Landgren and Arky Elston. Cover – cast of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photos – Matt Deller
Recently I had the words: “And though she be but little, she is fierce” tattooed on my left rib. Helena’s famous quote from one of Shakespeare’s more farcical comedies, it can be said that A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of my favourite Shakespearean plays.
For the 25th anniversary of “Shakespeare in the Park,” director Glenn Elston has reimagined the romantic comedy that is A Midsummer Night’s Dream into an energy packed spectacle featuring death-defying acrobatics, music and of course, some of the most beloved characters in literature.
A twisted love story, The Australian Shakespeare Company has embraced the soap opera nature of the text into an enjoyable evening under the stars.
As the Duke of Athens (Charles Sturgeon) prepared to marry Hippolyta (Claire Nicholls), he must first decide the fate of two young lovers Hermia (Mia Landgren) and Lysander (Otis Elston) who despite Hermia’s fathers’ wishes have decided to marry.
Faced with either death or the convent, Hermia and Lysander elope into the woods where mischievous fairies dwell and are met by Helena (Madeleine Field) and Demetrius (Scott Jackson).
Now; Demetrius is betrothed to Hermia, Hermia is in love with Lysander and Helena in love with Demetrius. And that’s before things get complicated…
Filled with cheeky quips, quirky characters and ridiculous plot twists, there is no doubting that A Midsummer Night’s Dream is not a Shakespearian play to be taken seriously.
The young cast brings a refreshing lightness to the play and the extraordinary acrobatics add to the circus that is the plot. In fact the whole concept of Shakespeare under the stars keeps the 16th century text from becoming stoic or stale. Being able to bring a picnic and watch some of the greatest literature be performed outdoors, as it was originally intended, is a very special experience.
The Australian Shakespeare Company presents
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Under the stars
Director Glenn Elston
Venue: Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
Dates: 21 December 2013 – 15 March 2014
Bookings: 1300 122 344 | Ticketmaster 136 100