A Midsummer Night's Dream is a Globe crowd-pleaser

Jun 5, 2013

Shakespeare's magical rom-com gets a warm, comic staging, with an ‘irresistible Bottom'

John Haynes

What you need to know
A new production of Shakespeare's popular romantic comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream has opened at the Globe Theatre, London.

The play tells the story of two sets of lovers, Hermia and Lysander, and Helena and Demetrius, whose happiness is threatened when the Duke of Athens tries to force Hermia and Demetrius to marry. The couples flee to the woods where they become entangled in a dispute between a fairy king and queen.

Dominic Dromgoole directs the cast which includes Michelle Terry as fairy queen Titania and Pearce Quigley as Bottom. Until 12 October.

What the critics like
This new production is "joyously inventive and touching", says Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph. Dominic Dromgoole's lively affectionate and inventive staging beautifully captures the humour and disconcerting strangeness of the play.

"Globe nights need to be damn good fun and rouse the groundlings," says Libby Purves in The Times. Here "the best ever Rude Mechanicals" are led by the irresistibly funny Pearce Quigley as Bottom.

"Dominic Dromgoole has created a warm, comic vision ideally pitched to this performance space," says Fiona Mountford in the Evening Standard. His production bursts with crowd-pleasing gestures that have the audience snorting with laughter.

What they don't like
It's a vigorous production, but it's a shame "Dromgoole and his cast can't resist embroidering the text with off-script sight gags", says Andrew Dickson in The Guardian. Where Shakespeare's comedy is interwoven with pathos, here the actors are forever fishing in their codpieces for knob jokes.

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