Midsummer Night's Dream, Lyric, Hammersmith, London 

3.00

 

The idiosyncratic and richly intentive Filter Company are one of my favourite theatrical outfits.

They operate in two broad strands at a roughly similar level of inspiration.  In one of them, they devise new plays that work on many narrative and metaphoric levels and that benefit from their creative speciality, which is using artfully deployed sound to sound the depths of a dramatic situation.  Though it featured in none of the end-of-year best play lists, one of the finest works of 2011 was Filter's Silence, a piece that rivalled Complicite's talent for fusing the emotional and the conceptual as it followed two overlapping quests in Britain and Eastern Europe. In the other strand, instanced by their acclaimed productions of Twelfth Night and Three Sisters, they take a classic and pull its corsets off, so to speak, in deliberately rough and indecorous re-mix of the play that at once defamilarises it, making it more accessible to newcomers, and resensitises older hands to its particular virtues.

The topsy-turviness of Illyria was compounded in their excellent Twelfth Night in an atmosphere that crossed carnival with boozy rock gig and the sickness of self-love was given a modern twist by a narcissistic Malvolio who played embarrassing air guitar and gazed in a mirror.  Filter's current Midsummer Night's Dream, once again directed by Sean Holmes, has a lot going for it, too, so I am hard put to put my finger on why I enjoyed it less and found it less revealing than the company's earlier shows.  It can't be, as I initially thought, that Shakespeare gazumps their approach in this play with the raucous slapstick of the misalligned lovers, the farce with the love juice, and the ludicrous comic incompetence of the mechanicals as they perform their "Pyramus and Thisbe" interlude.  Twelfth Night, after all, has built-in anarchy.

The fairy bower is a grotty, tiled bathroom. The love juice is staining blue bath gel squirted on to the eyes; Jonathan Broadbent's endearing, bespectacled Oberon looks like the Milky Bar Kid disguised as Superman; Ferdy Roberts's butch, stroppy Puck bursts through an upstage wall.  I'm not allowed to say who portrays Bottom but think back to the Morecambe and Wise meta-show The Play What I Wrote.  Uncharacteristically, the show feels pleased with itself out of proportion to its comic discoveries. There's a spectacular food-fight which puts the humble orange Sainsbury's bag in a new light.  An anxious Irish Quince tells us at the start that in one hour and 42 minutes "You'll be wishing you'd gone to see One Man, Two Guvnors."  They must be very confident that no one will call their bluff.

To March 17

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before