Taking my reluctant, theatre-virgin boyfriend to see Shakespeare was certainly a risky move, and I have to admit that as we walked through the doors of the Lyric Hammersmith and he asked: “Do people even go to the theatre anymore?” I was slightly concerned about how the evening would work out.
Brightly coloured paints act as the magical juice the fairies use…
The set, although bare, provided most of the entertainment, with the actors plunging in and out of the walls, ceiling, and floor. This was a brave move – it’s easy to expect a glittering forest full of fake trees and hanging chairs, but stripping down to the bare bones of a stage is a far greater challenge.
Brightly coloured paints act as the magical juice the fairies use to ensnare the lovers, creating a fantastic visual impact against the sparse set.
Credit has to be given to two fairies in particular, Oberon and Puck (Jonathan Broadbent and Ferdy Roberts), who do a brilliant job of maintaining the energy levels throughout the play. Oberon, who appears as a geeky superhero, constantly makes a fool of himself, and has to repeatedly remind other characters that: “I’m invisible, I’m invisible!” Puck invents himself as a mischievous voyeur, settling down with Oberon during one scene to watch chaos break lose, slumped in a camp chair, beer in hand.
Even my boyfriend was laughing heartily.
Ed Gaughan also gives an excellent performance as Peter Quince, nervously announcing the play as an “inevitable disappointment” and routinely re-engaging with the audience, just in case anyone is thinking of tuning out.
Indeed Quince’s warm up routine prior to the play had everyone in stitches, and his little jibes at the “respected members of the press” let us all know that no-one would be at liberty to take themselves too seriously during this performance.
In short, an absolute triumph. Even my boyfriend was laughing heartily.
The production continues at the Lyric Hammersmith until 17 March
Tickets from £12.50