Shakespeare’s plays aren’t always easy to adapt to a different time and place, but the Reverb Theatre Group has found a neat juxtaposition for its production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
With the detail of contemporary costume and simple but effective use of props such as a wireless set and a lava lamp, it has given a nod to this popular work being set in the era of the summer of love, of rebellion and the search for freedom that was prevalent in the late 1960s.
This was the first night of three, so there was a little hesitation at the beginning, but the young cast soon picked up the pace and took the story along with enthusiasm and fervour, bringing into focus the contrast between the earthly dilemmas of the two sets of lovers and the ethereal quality of the forest scenes. The “Mechanicals”, tradesmen rehearsing and performing their play about the tragedy of love, were a great hit and brought another facet to the intricacies and mischief of the main action.
The program doesn’t mention an interval, so there was a pause at the end of act three before the audience realised, and the cast members may have felt a little disappointed to hear no reaction to the end of the first half. However, the enthusiastic appreciation at the final curtain call should have reassured them.
Even if you have never been to a Shakespeare play before, you will thoroughly enjoy this production and relate to the tale as it unfolds. The cast was supported well by stage and lighting crew, and the background music was written for the production but in the style of that era.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is being staged at the Brighton Performing Arts Centre until February 21.
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