Shakespeare’s classic comedy of love and intrigue, magic and mayhem comes to Bolton Castle this July!
Tickets are £12 for adults and £8 for children.
London based Quantum Theatre tours nationally with imaginative and highly engaging new productions of classic texts and Shakespeare plays adapted and directed by the Artistic Director, Michael Whitmore, who’s flowing, inventive and easily accessible style informs all the company’s output.
What’s on – stage – stage reviews
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Michelham Priory, near Hailsham, August 2
Quantum Theatre’s accessible and fun production was contemporary without being contrived. The use of pop songs added to the comedy as a jack-the-lad Demetrius (Paul Hampton inexplicably dressed as if auditioning for Miami Vice) came on stage to the tune of You’re so Vain. Meanwhile, the wedding celebration featured all the old favourites, including the Duke as a sort of embarrassing uncle struggling to do the Macarena.
Shakespeare’s tale of love transformed, misplaced and finally restored had a relevance not seen in other productions – without destroying the magic. For example, in a scene familiar in town centres everywhere, a thwarted Hermia (Amie Clapson) swung her handbag at Helena (Siri Ingul) while a laughing Demetrius and Lysander (Kevin Kemp) looked on.
The cast of six took on multiple roles, seamlessly switching from one to the next. Clapson had fun as an energetic Puck, complete with EastEnders accent and a Don King wig, while Hampton made an ass of himself as Bottom. The device enabled some nice parallels as, for example, Ingul’s bewitched Titania pursued the donkey-headed Bottom with the same passion her wonderfully obsessive Helena had chased after Demetrius.
My one (small) criticism is that this production did not make enough use of the gorgeous setting. Despite this, it was a magical performance – and, like half the cast, I was spellbound.
Park evening was perfect
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Congleton Park
IT’S A brave theatre company that performs in the open air, particularly in a damp August – and it’s a brave audience that sets off with picnics, rugs and brollies to Congleton Park for an evening beneath not altogether welcoming skies.
The bravery was amply rewarded, though, with a dry night and a boisterous, bouncy production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Quantum Theatre – a London-based touring company – knows how to reach out to its public. The production, performed by just six energetic actors playing all roles, combined slapstick, conjuring tricks and pop music to engage the audience without in the least debasing Shakespeare’s play.
There is a marvellous handbagging scene as Hermia (Amie Clapson) belts the living daylights out of Helena (Siri Ingul) who she believes has stolen her lover Lysander (Kevin Kemp). Cunning staging allows actors to disappear into trunk which is then picked up and carried away, and craftily chosen snippets of pop music offer a neat commentary on the action. There’s also a weather forecast from a portable radio.
Pride of place, though, must go to the “rude mechanicals” – the tradesmen who present a play within a play. The audience loved the hapless Peter Quince (Kevin Kemp) trying to rehearse his ragamuffin crew of Snug (Paul Chambers), Bottom (Paul Hampton) and other members of the versatile cast.
I’d not come across Quantum Theatre before. If it returns I shall look forward to another evening in the park – even if next time it rains.
The Herald – Arts
Though they be but little, they be talented
THE play A Midsummer Night’s Dream is probably one of Shakespeare’s most instantly recognisable works if not one of his strangest and it contains a number of famous quotes, including ‘The course of true love never did run smooth’, ‘Though she be but little, she is fierce!’ and ‘Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania’.
The story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed by Quantum Theatre in the annual open air production at Frimley Park Lodge, organised by Camberley Theatre, consists of four interconnected plots centred on the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens to Hippolyta, an Amazonian Queen. The plots involve love, magic, fairies, potions, a donkey and much midsummer mayhem, all set in the woods around Athens and in Fairyland underneath the bright light of a full moon.
There is something very special about watching a Shakespeare play performed on a stage outside while being gently caressed by the warming breeze of a midsummer’s evening.
Quantum Theatre, whose main role is to take old classics and newly penned works into classrooms up and down the country, have also become established as seasoned outdoor theatre entertainers. Their skill at interpreting old classics and making them accessible to all, made this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream exceptionally fun and entertaining. Despite this being a small company with only five actors in the cast, they were masterfully and professionally able to play a multitude of characters almost seamlessly.
David Sandham, who plays Demetrius and Bottom, was the perfect choice for Bottom given his obvious abilities in physical and vocal humour, probably developed while performing as Daddy Pig in Pepper Pig’s Big Splash and Wise Old Elf and King Thistle in Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom Live.
Of course, the role of ‘Puck’ is pivotal in this play and this was ably done by Lauren Scott-Berry who captured the creature’s mischievous and fun character perfectly, despite seeming a little on the tall side for a role that is usually reserved for a thespian who is more vertically challenged.
Alexandra Whitworth brought the comedic side of Titania alive. Of course, we all know Titania should be incredibly beautiful, but falling in love with a man with a donkey’s head probably best ought to be done tongue-in-cheek. This she does extremely well. The creative team decided to put Titania and Bottom in a big wooden box while the two characters schmoozed. This was probably done to disguise the obviously odd situation of a fairy ‘getting it on’ with a man with a donkey’s head, as well as draw out the fairly obvious comedic elements of the scene. Alexandra Whitworth is clearly a very versatile actor.
This was an extremely funny and entertaining performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The members of the company have become old hands at making Shakespeare accessible to all. Quantum Theatre and their talented band of actors cannot be recommended highly enough. For more about the theatre company, visit www.quantumtheatre.co.uk
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU
Midsummer Night’s Dream
What an exceptional performance, it is by far and away the best
Shakespeare I have ever seen – probably the best live performance of any
theatre I have ever seen (except of course my daughter’s youth theatre
It was an impressive and excellent show.
…this evening’s performance was refreshingly accessible and dare i say ‘human’ in its telling; played, i would say, as it was meant to be played, in an open and friendly manor, packed with humour and feeling and warmth; … story telling at its best. Very well done and very many thanks from west wales 🙂
Nikki and Betsi
“We have just seen your Midsummer Night’s Dream. . . it was amazing! It was difficult to believe that there were only 5 actors, and every performance never faltered. I have seen this play at least five times but did not imagine I would be so entertained from beginning to end. I will definitely be looking out for more of your performances.”
“thank you for such a wonderful performance this afternoon, to bring Shakespeare back to his home county (did you see the sign as you entered Warwickshire) and fill the air with sounds of laughter and breath life into his work shows great skill and talent.”