David Walliams a funny ass in Midsummer Night's Dream
And Sheridan Smith is a 60s wild child in this sensual staging of Shakespeare's popular rom-com
What you need to know
Michael Grandage's new production of A Midsummer Night's Dream has opened at the Noel Coward Theatre, London. Sheridan Smith (above) and David Walliams (Little Britain) star in Shakespeare's popular comedy about a night of magical mayhem and romantic hijinks.
The plot revolves around a series of unrequited loves and romantic misunderstandings in an enchanted forest. A quartet of young lovers attempt to elope in the woods where the fairy king and queen, Titania and Oberon, are having a lovers' quarrel and a group of players are rehearsing.
Smith plays Titania, and Walliams is Bottom, an actor who is transformed into an ass. Until 16 November.
What the critics like
This West End staging is both "ancient and new, erotic but innocent, un-pretty but beautiful", says Libby Purves in The Times. Easy with the verse and always in the moment, Grandage's cast create something sensual, pagan and necessary.
"Built around the star-power of Smith and Walliams this is an enormously spirited show" that turns into a joyous celebration of sex and fertility, says Michael Billington in The Guardian. Grandage's production is sexy, swift and sure-footed - a constant delight to the eye.
"Sheridan Smith's excellent Titania is a 60s wild child, evincing a splendidly fiery spirit," says Paul Taylor in The Independent. And David Walliams is delightfully funny once he's transformed into a randy ass.
What they don't like
It's hard to warm to this Dream with Walliams's smarmy and supercilious performance as Bottom, says Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph. At times "it seems we could be watching the crude and overrated Little Britain rather than one of the greatest comedies in the English language". ·