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A Dream of a Production

Bottom (Mathew Baynton) and Titania (Sirine Saba). Photo by Pamela Raith (c) RSC

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare, Directed  by  Eleanor Rhode, playing at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon until 30 March 2024.

Review by Ann Evans

Without a doubt William Shakespeare had a great sense of humour. And when coupled with a brilliant cast, director and crew, the humour is outstanding.

I had no idea just how brilliantly funny this particular play was until seeing it performed last night. Laughter didn’t just ripple around the RSC wonderful auditorium – it roared. And that was down not only to the wit of the world’s greatest playwright, but also the talents and professionalism of an outstanding cast, director and creatives.

Lysander (Ryan Hutton) Photo by Pamela Raith (c) RSC

There’s a modern vibe to this production and stunning effects; while this story of love, unrequited love, confusion and mischief which Shakespeare does so well, is told with clarity passion.

As a reminder of the story, Hermia (Dawn Sievewright) is refusing to go through with an arranged marriage to Demetrius (Nicholas Armfield) as she is in love with Lysander (Ryan Hutton). However, Helena (Boadicea Ricketts) is in love with Demetrius who wants nothing to do with her. Meanwhile a group of tradesmen led by Peter Quince (Helen Monks) and amongst them – Bottom (Mathew  Baynton) are rehearsing for their play – Pyramus and Thisbe. 

Puck usually played by Rosie Sheehy, last night played by Premi Tamang. Photo by Pamela Raith (c) RSC

In a clearing in an enchanted forest one midsummer night where they all happen to meet up. Also there, are the quarrelling King and Queen of the Fairies, Oberon (Bally Gill) and Titania (Sirine Saba) with the mischievous Puck (played last night by  Premi Tamang) on hand to do their bidding. The scene is set for confusion, chaos and mix-ups as only Shakespeare can create. And it is brilliant!

Every single actor played their roles to perfection – from their facial expressions to the timing of their movements. And there were many unexpected surprises throughout the production that took the audience by surprise.

Lysander (Ryan Hutton) and Hermia (Dawn Sievewright). Photo by Pamela Raith (c) RSC

Mathew Baynton, as Bottom who is probably best known as The Poet in BBC TV’s Ghosts, was hilarious – and for me, his dying scene in Pyramus and Thisbe was the best ‘death scene’ I’ve ever seen on stage! Hilarious. Other favourites (for me) were Lysander – Ryan Hutton brought laughter with practically every move he made. And Boadicea Ricketts as Helena was wonderful when she finally ‘snapped’ having been rejected by Demetrius and then finding herself adored by him – and Lysander, and mocked by Hermia, thanks to Puck’s mischief. Fabulous acting!     


All in all, a brilliant production by an outstanding cast, director and crew. If you get the chance to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream do so - you will love it.

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1 Comment

Feb 16

I agree! I saw it last Saturday and it is brilliant !

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