Magic lies at the heart of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Not just in the fairies and sprites that abound in Shakespeare’s tale of bewitched lovers, but in the way that the story is presented here by Ten Feet Tall Theatre.
This local professional company bring a vibrancy, relevance and – above all else – perfect comic touch that makes this a production which is by turns laugh out loud, lyrical and beguiling for everyone who watches it, fans of the Bard or not.
Even from the off, a stunning white-draped set with intriguing forest hints spilling away, you know you are in for something special. A point proved when it later transforms into a starlight wooded glade, heralded in with, of all things, a confetti canon.
The imaginative staging is a fitting backdrop for the sheer talent on stage that gift clarity and meaning to Shakespeare’s words, punched up by being delivered in Scots accents we hear about us every day.
It’s an ensemble cast, with some doubling up of duties for the array of characters, and while they are uniformly excellent there are some real stand-outs.
Mark Wood imbues his fairy king Oberon with a powerful charisma, while Belle Jones plays Titania to the sensual hilt. Stephanie McGregor is a puckish Puck, full of mischievous fun.
The lovers – Cristian Ortega as Lysander, Ewan Petrie as Demetrius, Danielle Jam as Hermia and Rebecca Wilkie, putting in a near show-stealing turn as Helena – provide one of the highlights of the night. Their fighting, as magic leads to confusion and mayhem, is hilarious and not just in a “gosh it’s clever to find Shakespeare amusing” way. It is properly fast-furious-and-physical funny. Genius.
There is, of course, no Midsummer Night’s Dream without Bottom. And Ross Allan as the overconfident and undergifted weaver-turned-actor-turned-ass, proves the point gifted comic actors do great Shakespeare.
This outstanding Midsummer Night’s Dream is Shakespeare for people who don’t even think they like Shakespeare, but probably will after seeing it. Now that is magic.