Review: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM @ Northern Stage

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Image: Nadine Shah – Titania – Photo credit – Patch Dolan

Bell end! Is what was shouted by Helena to Demetrius in Not Too Tame & Mathew Dunster production of Midsummer Night’s Dream at Northern Stage.

As you can tell, it wasn’t your classic Shakespeare play tonight. Any preconceived ideas about theatre and Shakespeare is completely thrown out of the window.

Performed in the round, the stage looked like a religious precinct or cathedral with real candles hanging by chandeliers and a massive ring light in the air. Little did I know that the fragile beauty of the stage was going to be decorated with comedy and chaos.

Actors with a luscious variety of accents and languages danced around with the words of the famous playwright. It was wonderful to see Shakespearian words being spoken and incorporated using BSL.

I am struggling to put into words of how I feel about what I have just seen, almost as if I have “been Pucked” and experienced a lucid dream. I have now returned to Newcastle and can’t quite decipher between the dream world and the reality. Whatever it was, it had a profound affect on me.

Never feeling truly comfortable in my seat, I wasn’t sure which direction the play would go next. I’d find myself memorised by Titania (Nadine Shah) voice, nearly singing me to sleep then I’d find myself absolutely belly laughing at Bottom (Jimmy Fairhurst) with his illuminated orange donkey eared hat.

Midsummer Night’s Dream is really funny, truly romantic but also deeply intense. Through all of the drama, music, costume and comedy used to tell the fairy tale- there is this underlying feeling of this play being bigger than just a Shakespeare play. Not Too Tame and Northern Stage throw a curve ball at you and challenge you around your idea of Shakespeare. They show you that theatre and Shakespeare is welcome to all, no matter who you are. It has certainly put a fire in my belly and made me excited about the future of theatre and where it can go to push the boundaries of Shakespeare.

To find out more about Northern Stage click here

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