Theatre review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Falkirk Town Hall

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DOES ANYONE out there remember theatre-in-education? Back in the 1970s, it was what they used to call the little schools companies attached to every theatre; and there’s a definite hint of the old t-i-e style about Bryn Holding’s charming yet slightly aimless production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the ambitious young Sell A Door touring company of Greenwich, which played to an audience composed mainly of school students.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Falkirk Town Hall

Star rating: * * *

It’s true that the production features a Puck who seems to be something of a time-traveller, sporting glamorous shades and a small transistor radio; and that the young lovers appear in modern dress, all jeans and bomber jackets. That, though, is about as far as we get, when it comes to creative reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s most familiar comedy. The rest, lasting for a full two-and-three-quarter hours, is just a feisty, playful wander through almost all of Shakespeare’s text, delivered at a pace more steady than brisk, and with evident, relaxed enjoyment.

There were one or two shining performances, notably from Kate Craggs and Katy Sobey, as the two young female lovers, Hermia and Helena. There’s also some delicious use of live choral music, delivered by the nine-strong cast with a sudden intensity that deepens and focuses the production.

Some of the cast try a little too hard to be funny or clever, instead of letting Shakespeare’s mighty poetry do the work. In the end, though, this is a thoughtful and pleasant Dream. You can catch it in Falkirk this afternoon, or at the Brunton, Musselburgh, tomorrow evening.