It’s no holds Bard with this award-winning spin on a Shakespeare classic
Photos Rah Petherbridge
Four hours. That’s how long one of the actors in tonight’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been drinking before the curtain comes up. And as soon as it does, it’s not hard to tell which of the four thesps has had a tipple or two.
Prior to the show, we’ve been informed that Saul Marron, who’ll be playing Lysander, has downed half a bottle of vodka (with squash), two cans of Stella and a can of G&T. And in case he somehow sobers up, two audience members have been given a horn and a gong which can each be sounded once during the play to summon more booze for poor Marron. Another guest, sitting front and centre, is given a bucket.
Condensed into an hour, the show omits the dreamy scenes involving Titania and Oberon, plus the pack of travelling actors, choosing instead to focus purely on the antics of the Athenian lovers: Helena, Hermia, Demetrius and the doomed (for tonight, anyway) Lysander. All classically trained Shakespearian actors, the remaining three – plus the mischievous Puck – remain straight-faced and deal deftly with any nonsense spurted out by our drunken protagonist. Quite an achievement when at one point he starts calling them by their real names.
Running time is only 70 minutes with no interval, which helps make this a great way to kick-start a night out with colleagues. It’s funny – really funny – and, given that each of the performers takes it in turns to hit the bottle, no two nights are the same. Bleeding knees, booze and a bucket (which thankfully was not required on our visit): we hope that Marron had as good a time as we did.
Until 11 June