A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Oddsocks Theatre Company

Belgrade Theatre Coventry


I’m a sucker for Shakespeare and A Midsummer Night’s Dream is such a great play. Oddsocks brings a special kind of improvised comedy and physical theatre to productions that I like to think replicates Shakespeare’s intentions.

It’s bawdy without being crude, witty and wise with plenty of story. Add in some songs, some original, others well known, high level musicianship and you have a real show. Six actor/musicians, miracles at the quick change, bring the play to life with great energy and humour.

The story? Some builders/actors are working on the palace ready for the wedding of The Duke of Athens (Christopher Smart). The King and Queen of the Fairies, Oberon (Andy Barrow) and Titania (Asha Cornelia-Cluer) have fallen out and revenge is in the air.

Oberon’s ‘PA’ Puck (Alice Merivale) is sent to deliver juice from a magic flower that will make Titania fall in love with the first thing she sees. Oberon has also seen lovers arguing in the forest and decides on using the same flower. Unfortunately, there are TWO sets of lovers and the group of workers rehearsing a play for the Duke’s wedding.

Puck anoints Titania and the WRONG lover plus gives Bully Bottom (Director Andy Barrow in a brilliantly comical builder’s costume), one of the workers, a donkey’s head to replace his own. Titania falls head over heels. The lovers are more muddled than ever. I loved Titania’s fay fairies, Mustardseed, Cobweb and Peaseblossom (Peter Hoggart, Alex Wadham and Christopher Smart) smoothing over the horrors that ensue and providing light relief. It was all just a Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Pyramus and Thisbe, the play the workers perform for the Duke and his bride was brilliantly funny. A member of the audience had to be recruited to be ‘Wall’. I would have loved to be in on the production meetings where they decided just HOW to get the action down to six actors. At one stage, Hermia (Alice Merivale) had to leave her boots sticking out under a curtain while she set off as Puck.

It was great to see so many young families in the audience. And there were times, particularly in the Oddsocks’ treatment of the mechanical’s Pyramus and Thisbe, that we were literally helpless with mirth. Great work. To 22-06-19

Jane Howard


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