A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By William Shakespeare
Playing at the Unity Theatre, Hope St, from 15th - 26th June

Reviewed by John Murphy

In typical Shakespeare style, if you know nothing about the play’s story you can be sure by the end you will be surprised. With pixies, fairies and spirits running amok the newcomer is constantly wondering where the tale will end.

As a romantic comedy the play has all the right elements to prove that “love never did run smooth” and possesses a wit that is still sharp despite its age.

This production focuses on four entangled lovers and six students in the woods of Athens. Under the magic gaze of the full moon, Oberon king of the fairies sets in motion the charismatic character of Puck - a mischievous pixie - who causes mayhem and chaos with such ease and grace that you can’t help be captivated by his every move and word. With spells of love being cast and magic in every tree branch it’s easy to understand why one of the comical students is turned into an ass and frightens away his friends. The title draws on the summer solstice, Midsummer Eve, which topically is June the 21st, and is traditionally known for all manner of magic and mystery.

Black Box Theatre pulls off a good performance of what must be a difficult play to stage, and the production has been adapted and kept simple for those unfamiliar with Shakespeare. The many children in the audience found it hilarious, so the play contains everything needed for a good family night out.

This play is so surreal that you feel you are dreaming. Shakespeare was aware of this characteristic and at the end of the play Puck announces, “If anyone disliked the play, they should imagine that it was only a dream”.