Fringe Box



Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Published on: 13 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 13 Nov, 2013

By The Stage Dragon

After last year’s sell-out, theatre company Propeller has returned to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre with a lively production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream  (Tuesday to Saturday, November 12 to 16).

In this magical play, love and illusion collide when the two pairs of lovers become entangled in fairy mischief on the eve of a Royal Wedding.  Dreams and reality become interchangeable and romantic chaos ensues.  Propeller’s inimitable production is fresh, funny and beautifully lyrical; small wonder that this Dream has enchanted packed houses worldwide since 2008.


Chris Myles as Bottom
[photo: Dominic Clemence]

To quote their web-site: “Propeller is an all-male Shakespeare company which seeks to find a more engaging way of expressing Shakespeare and to more completely explore the relationship between text and performance. Mixing a rigorous approach to the text with a modern physical aesthetic, they have been influenced by mask work, animation and classic and modern film and music from all ages.”

Artistic Director Edward Hall explains: “Our Dream’s combination of magic, romance and humour provides a real opportunity to bring new audiences to Shakespeare.  Propeller is all about how we approach a show, how we treat our audience, how we bring life to the words and stories we put across, how the camaraderie of the company spreads to the people who are watching…”

Robin Goodfellow / Puck

Puck producing a dark fog…
[photo: Dominic Clemence]

From this Stage Dragon’s point of view, it was an outstanding performance. The text was spoken brilliantly by every actor, naturally and clearly enunciated, perfectly nuanced, each character making the most of rhyme and rhythm.

Detailed direction by Edward Hall ensured a fast pace throughout, holding our attention with a colourful blend of traditional theatrical effect, pantomime, sometimes even farce.  Puck proved to be the lynchpin, actor Joseph Chance bounding about the stage establishing balletic overtones which echoed through the whole show.  James Tucker made a fine Queen of the Fairies and Chris Myles a well-rounded Bottom.

The full company showed amazing dexterity by playing numerous parts in addition to a variety of instruments – in fact, music plays a big part in setting the scene, making an atmospheric, memorable and unique production.  The minimal yet effective set was designed by Michael Pavelka and lit by Ben Ormerod.

Three of the Fairies

Three of the Fairies
[photo: Dominic Clemence]

Everything reeks of professionalism and a characterful team, even the interval makes you smile. No one does Shakespeare like Propeller.

Tickets for A Midsummer Night’s Dream are on sale. You can book by calling the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Box Office on (01483) 44 00 00 or by visiting their website.

Stage Dragon Opinion: Press night (Tuesday 12 November) was packed with students and young people who obviously appreciated a production that made Shakespeare so accessible. Yet a council report states that the current level of Guildford Borough funding of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is ‘inappropriate’. What do you think?  Please comment below…

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *