From Tuesday 15th to Saturday 19th of October, Norwich Theatre Royal is hosting The Watermill Theatre’s productions of A Midsummer Nights Dream and Macbeth. The two shows are alternating in days and have one cast for both productions.
I had the pleasure of seeing A Midsummer Nights Dream (directed by Paul Hart) on the opening night. The show is filled with immense energy, passion, and sense of fun. The vivid setting and costumes had such colour and life, and I was delighted to see how intelligently the space on stage was being used.
One of the most successful elements of the production was the musical elements. The show featured songs such as ‘I put a spell on you’ and ‘blue moon’. The musicality was terrific and added such an exciting vibe to the play. The music fit in very well with the storylines and came at the perfect moments to inject an extra level of fun to a scene.
There were some more adult jokes embedded within the acting, and though these moments were shocking for some audience members, for me, they added to the sense of fun and freedom that had been created across the course of the play.
My favourite element was the interactions between Molly Chesworth (Puck) and Jamie Satterthwaite (Oberon). Their mischievous antics had the audience highly amused, and I loved the darkness they added to the play. The one-stage connection was super, and I knew there was going to be magic whenever they were together.
One of the standout performances was Emma Barclay (Bottom). She delivered the role with such a spark of energy, and even the tiniest of facial expressions had the audience erupting in laughter. Her singing also dazzled me as an extremely talented performance.
The humour in the play was mainly slapstick, which is not to my personal taste. However, other audience members found it hilarious, and I do think that the production would be perfect for students/young people, who are experiencing Shakespeare for the first time. Though the play is so fun, it still maintains an educational element and retains a lot of traditional Shakespearean language.
The actors are so talented and kept up an extremely high-quality level of performance across the length of the show. Towards the end, the play felt a little dragged and the production could have benefited from cutting of the ‘play within a play’ element out for smoother and more enjoyable viewing. However, there were some really magical moments, especially within the forest scenes with the fairies. These scenes were extremely cleverly presented and staged.
Overall the production was fabulous. It was lively, charged, and energetic. The show is the perfect way to spend an evening watching Shakespeare’s word come to life in the most extraordinarily brilliant way.