Saturday, February 13, 2010

A midwinter night’s drive

My mother has been working on hats for the Rose Theatre’s production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. She made four lovely Elizabethan style hats for the fairies (and the frames for some of the collars, like Oberon's in this picture). The play is one of my favourites by Shakespeare I have to say and it was wonderful to hear the language, the voices and to engage in the action and the story.

The star of this production, to my mind, was not the ‘big name‘ (Dame Judi Dench) but Bottom. Of course it is a role which begs indulgence, and he played it to the full.

The costumes were effective, the staging simple but atmospheric and the theatre, full to bursting, had a natural ambience that felt redolent of a much older building. There was floor space in front of the stage filled with audience sat upon cushions or the polished boards, we sat in the second row on the extreme left. This gave us a close but angled view of the action.

The sound system didn’t really meet the standards of the rest of the production (and being a musician I would, of course, have preferred live musicians), but the music was appropriate and worked well. The actress who played Cobweb had a very clear and pretty singing voice, and one of the fairies (a solid looking guy with dreads) had the most amazing ability to drop what sounded like two octaves in one verse.

The performances by all were, without exception, entertaining. Dame Judi was a wonderful Titania, and her wonderfully tall (by comparison) Oberon was elegant and an excellent foil.

I highly recommend this production (but you'll be lucky to get tickets) and if you haven't been to a play in a while - go see one. The lights, the people in front of you speaking real words from memory (not an autocue) and performing for you, to you, not a camera.

The drive home was much quicker than the drive there which took three hours from Cambridge to Kingston via Temple Fortune (to pick up mother). I drove through sunshine, rain, snow, sleet and hail at various points of the journey (some of these meteorological events lasting only a few minutes), but it was well worth a winter night's drive.
Production photos by Nobby Clark - no rights are exerted over these images which remain the property of the original copyright holder.
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