Alice Burns

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Review

The Epstein theatre on Hanover Street is perhaps one of Liverpool’s lesser known playhouses; yet it remains a charming venue with theatre, comedy nights and pantomimes running throughout the year. After a critically acclaimed run in 2017, Repertory Company returned to Liverpool this spring with Daniel Taylor’s latest production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Sharon Byatt as Titania, assorted fairies and Daniel Taylor as Bottom. Image courtesy of Dan Hicklin.

Whether your familiar with Shakespeare or not, the idea of star-crossed lovers escaping the confines of society, delving into the forest wilderness of magic and mayhem has entertained audiences young and old throughout the centuries. Produced by Daniel Taylor, this remake of ‘Shakespeare’s most magical comedy’ brings a dazzling array of energy and humour to this celebrated comedy, as a dream you’ll be glad to remember.

Final Scene, personal photograph.

The play tells the story of Lysander and Hermia, young lovers who are forbidden to be together by Egeus, Hermia’s father, in the strict Athenian court. Egeus instead proposes Demetrius as a more suitable match for his daughter, who is in turn obsessed over by Helena. Consequently, the four lovers flee Athens and find themselves unwittingly entering into the lawless woodland of the fairy kingdom ruled by Oberon and Titania.  Amid the chaos and carnage of this conflict between stark reality and dream-like surreality stars Puck (James Templeton) a mischievous sprite otherwise known Robin Goodfellow who propels forward the action of the play. Templeton transfixed his audience with unrelenting energy, vigour and roguish charisma in this liminal space between fantasy and reality.

James Templeton as Puck and John Schumacher as Oberon. Image courtesy of Dan Hicklin.

Together with the hilarious escapades of Quince and the workmen’s parody- The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe, the audience are kept spellbound throughout this glittering production. A visually stunning assembly, Taylor’s inspired use of lighting created a vibrant spectrum of dimensions to the stage, adding depth and vigour to this most mystical of comedies, with almost as many fairylights as there were fairies themselves.

Tim Lucas as Flute and Thisbe and Daniel Taylor as Bottom and Pyramus. Image courtesy of Dan Hicklin.

In this mesmerising rendition, the actors perform both on and off-stage, creating a truly immersive atmosphere of enchantment. From the surreality of the unpredictable fairy kingdom, to the strict Athenian court and the hysterical play-within-a-play; this fast-paced romantic comedy has all the ingredients for a fantastic contemporary production of a timeless classic. One of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies, Taylor’s production perfectly characterises the enduring charm of Shakespeare’s work with an abundance of confusion, hilarity and wit.

For bookings of further productions currently showing at The Epstein and box office enquiries, visit: boxoffice@epsteinliverpool.co.uk or call 0844 8884 41.

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