"Midsummer Night's Dream & Fries"
by remotegoat reviewer for remotegoat on 01/07/11

Taking one of Shakespeare's most well known and most performed play and transforming it almost to the point where it is almost unrecognisable is a brave and bold thing to do.

That bravery and boldness is clearly evident in this entertaining, and at times challenging, production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by "CL Theatre Company in association with Goodman Production". Directed ably here by Petina Hapgood.

Paying homage to the 1950s B Movie genre this adaptation features a single location, a classic All-American Diner.

Trapping the action in the one setting doesn't always work but that's a very minor shortcoming in what's an entertaining, and genuinely interesting production.

My only reservation is that I wish they'd been bolder with the script revisions. Some of the well known quotes and passages are updated to reflect the 1950s setting but it made those that weren't seem a little out of place.

Taking the opportunity to shoehorn some instantly recognisable hits from the era is also largely successful. Some stand out singing voices in the cast would have to include that of Anita Gollschewsky (Puck) and also that of Michael Mitcham (Bottom).

The cast, largely convincing in their reworkings of very well known characters seem to relish their chance to play on stage. The swimsuit and flippers scene featuring Michael Mitcham and Roberto Landi is a joy to behold. A somewhat perverted joy perhaps, but a joy all the same.

In my own homage to the West End Whingers I have to mention the presence, and consumption of, real food live on stage. Lauren Little's Titania falling for Mitcham's altered Bottom is played out over an interesting use of burgers and ketchup which frankly I've never seen enough of on stage. (Perhaps selling burgers in the interval might not be a bad idea to raise extra revenue as it certainly made me peckish watching it!)

It's important to note that the performance I saw was effectively the first preview as the play runs at this location until Saturday July 2nd before transferring to the Courtyard, Hoxton where it should settle in rather nicely.

This play does deserve an audience. Not an audience of Shakespeare enthusiasts but one of people prepared to go with the flow and just enjoy what they see.

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