War Horse collaborators’ A Midsummer Night Dream fails to live up to hopes

11 Feb

Metro

Joke’s on him: Game Of Thrones star Miltos Yerolemou as Bottom (Picture: Simon Annand) Joke’s on him: Game Of Thrones star Miltos Yerolemou as Bottom (Picture: Simon Annand)
Expectations were high for this Bristol Old Vic production, which marks the first time director Tom Morris and South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company have worked together since collaborating on the global smash War Horse.

Shakespeare’s tale of young human lovers and mischievous fairyland sprites is ripe for the sort of magical transformations that Handspring’s puppetry can evoke. However, despite winning performances from the youthful cast, the execution proves over-elaborate.

The emphasis on the solemnities of midsummer’s ancient rituals means the human tale loses a lot of its charm.

Much of the puppetry has a pared-down, ad-hoc quality. Actors arm themselves with planks of wood, presumably intended to suggest the Athenian forest. Puck, brought to life by three onstage performers, has a wicker basket for a body, a saw for an arm and a blowtorch for a…

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