Writer: William Shakespeare
Adapter and Director: Felicity Courage
Reviewer: Selwyn Knight
The Public Reviews Rating:
Courage Performers is a performing arts club for young people based in Bradford, on Avon and Corsham. Their senior group is performing Swing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, based on Shakespeare’s play (including much of his text) but with the addition of songs from Cole Porter. The songs used have been well chosen, so that they genuinely carry the story forward rather than being fillers. Music is also used to make the scene changes smooth so that the momentum is maintained.
The play has been sensibly cut to reduce it to its essentials, though this does leave a few loose ends in the minds of the audience, for example, the whole issue of the changeling child. Nevertheless, the whole hangs together well, giving the young cast ample opportunity to showcase their acting, singing and dancing skills. Indeed, they generally manage the language well, even if some speeches are a touch garbled. However, there are some excellent singing voices to be heard, notably from Helena (Dora Bishop), Bottom (Tom Babbage), Puck (Rachel Butterworth) and Lysander (Luke Rees-Oliviere). The most effective scenes involve the pantomimish rude mechanicals as they prepare their play-within-a-play, and especially, Bottom. This young man is quite a talent. He confidently struts about the stage, bringing vibrant life and physicality to the role, including when he is enchanted and has the ass’s head. By contrast, the characters of the pairs of lovers, Lysander and Hermia (Meaghan Martin), and Demetrius (Alex Palmer) and Helena, could be developed further, especially that of Demetrius; Palmer’s rendition was rather flat, lacking in light and shade.
Overall, and as an entertaining and energetic musical diversion, this is worth a look.
Until 11th AugustEdinburgh Fringe: Swing A Midsummer Night’s Dream – C,
Tags: Alex Palmer, C Venues, Courage Performers, Dora Bishop, EdFringe, Edinburgh Fringe, Felicity Courage, Luke rees-Oliviere, Meaghan Martin, Rachel Butterworth, Swing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tom Babbage, William Shakespeare