Theatre: Laugh if you believe in fairies
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM RSC STRATFORD
Monday 29 March 1999
Not at all: Boyd has taken his cue for this inclemency from Titania's lines about how Oberon's jealous quarrel with her has warped the natural course of the seasons so that "hoary-headed frosts/Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose". The production treats this at face value: it's one of the many ways Boyd's exhilarating and very funny staging heightens a sense of the weirdness of the world into which the Dream sucks us. Aidan McArdle's excellent, insinuating little Irish Puck is surely the first ever to have administered the magic juice by dumping the whole flower, plus its roots and a great deal of soil, on to the sleeping lovers' faces. Talk about corner-cutting, an exercise he later takes further by just plonking these daft horticultural deposits directly on to their crotches.
There's a headlong, ludic madness and a real bite to the enchantment in this production, which is the first of a season that sees a welcome change in the configuration of stage and audience in the main house at Stratford. A large oval shape, the stage now pushes more intimately towards the seating which, as a result, has had to curve at the sides. Through trapdoors, the fairies erupt with alarming suddenness, their gestures disconcertingly random. At the head of this bunch are Nicholas Jones and Josette Simon, the sexiest, most commanding Oberon and Titania of recent years. On legs that make Cyd Charisse look like Toulouse Lautrec, Ms Simon stalks about with a hair-raising primal energy, sexually devours Danielle Ryan's Bottom and throws herself into stamping, erotic dances. Here's an Amazon who could polish off Tina Turner and Grace Jones for breakfast and still have room for Aretha Franklin.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 2 David De Gea: Manchester United goalkeeper's £29m move to Real Madrid off - because paperwork 'not done in time'
- 3 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 4 Pansexual: What is it - and when did the term gain popularity?
- 5 New Apple TV release date and price: streaming box and games console will launch in October
X Factor hopeful Mason Noise: 'How is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in the music business, let alone a judge on the show?'
Wes Craven dead: Why Johnny Depp owes his career to director’s 13-year-old daughter
Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
VMAs 2015: Taylor Swift and her buddy Kendrick Lamar clean-up at awards - full list of winners
James Bond is a 'very lonely, sexist misogynist', says Daniel Craig
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms