banner ad

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

August 3, 2019 | By | 1 Reply More

Æ’s Young Critics on the LYT’s Dream

The four young actors from Edinburgh youth theatre Strangetown being mentored by Æ during this fringe, started their critical journey with some of Edinburgh’s finest youth companies.

Having taken in the bend and snap of Legally Blonde, they turned their attention to the Lyceum’s Summer on Stage, with its two contrasting productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Teechers.

On the previous page, Amy Quinn cast her eyes over Teechers, now Iskra Hearn and Suzanne O’Brien give their opinions of the Summer on Stage production of Shakespeare’s Dream.

★★★☆☆  Funny and entertaining

Royal Lyceum: 19 – 20 July 2019
Review by Iskra Hearn

This summer the Lyceum Youth Theatre take on Shakespeare’s classic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The story takes place in a forest and follows a fairy King and Queen, a group of amateur actors rehearsing a play and four lovers who have spells cast on them wreaking havoc on their relationships.

A movement sequence to heavy, upbeat music starts the performance off on a shadowy note and paints the picture of the dark and dangerous woods that the story will take place in. More movement sequences come up throughout the show and succeed in breaking up the scenes and keeping up the pace of the performance.

Theseus and Hippolyta and their court. Pic Aly Wight

The production is fairly minimal but still effective. Lighting is used well to set the mood for certain scenes and create tension when required. The costumes are gorgeous and detailed, particularly those of the fairy King Oberon, Queen Titania, and the actresses playing Puck, a spirit-like creature who serves and casts spells for Oberon.

The role of Puck is split into three parts which works well as the character is supposed to be a magical creature and, having multiple voices, when they speak in unison it creates an eerie, enchanting effect. The three actresses – Bridget Samson, Simi Adedokun and Abigail Svaasand – capture the mischievousness of the character and stay well synchronised throughout the performance.

standout

Despite the cast’s young age and the difficult Shakespearean language, they still seem to understand the story and what their lines mean which can be seen through their acting. Standout performers include Magnus Chapman as Lysander and Mattie Gilburt as Helena, who are two of the lovers lost in the forest. Chapman portrays a victim of a love spell hilariously and Gilburt is impressive and convincing as the love-struck Helena.

The production’s biggest pull is its comedy. The scenes featuring the characters trying to put on a play are undeniably funny and showcase the talent of Sergio Plummer who plays the overconfident actor Bottom, who also falls victim to a spell. Plummer is comfortable on stage and has natural comedic timing and talent for performing.

All of the cast show they have great potential and put on a strong show for such a young age group. They all seem passionate and committed to the performance and it’s obvious they have put a lot of effort in. The show is smooth considering there was only two rehearsal weeks and overall it is a success.

★★★☆☆  A great attempt

Review by Suzanne O’Brien

Lyceum Youth Theatre’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, retains the magic of the original play in a much truncated version of the script. Allowing you to enjoy some of Shakespeare’s work in a fraction of the time.

The 26 performers, under the directorial eye of Katie Mitchell, bring a modern twist to William Shakespeare’s classic play of love and misuse of magic, with loud costumes and simple dance routines.

The tradesmen rehearse, observed by Puck. Pic Aly Wight

The comedy follows the days leading up to Duke Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding, when various people are put under love spells. However not all goes to plan and even a tradesman who is preparing a performance for the wedding gets involved in the ordeal. Leading to very confusing events for all involved.

The production begins with a simple dance routine which only highlights the nerves of the actors. If anything, the dancing detracts from the piece and does not need to be included but it is nice to see something a bit different in the classic play.

The group of tradesman rehearsing a play for the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta stand out for all the right reasons, despite their purposefully terrible acting. They bring plenty of comical elements as they act like stereotypical over-the-top actors, performing tongue twisters and overdramatic harmonies. Each of them creates a great warmth with their infectious smiles.

Sergio Plummer emanates confidence in the role of Bottom. He is loud, proud and certainly not afraid of the limelight. When Bottom is cast as Pyramus for the performance at the wedding, Plummer cleverly retains the characteristics of Bottom, showing his acute attention to detail. With a strong commanding voice and perfect comic timing Plummer shows an understanding beyond his years.

Strong stage presence

The two leading ladies, Hermia and Helena are performed by Lulu Perren and Mattie Gilbert. The young actors possess a strong stage presence and convey feisty attitudes when they are caught up in the love spells and begin to fight over two young males, Lysander and Demetrius – performed by Magnus Chapman and Cormac MacLachlan. A fire grows within them both throughout the play and when it comes to a head the energy is electric.

Titania’s Bower. Pic Aly Wight

Modern elements in the music add humour, with the Rocky theme tune and Ant and Dec’s Let’s Get Ready to Rumble proving great crowd pleasers and certainly keeping everyone engaged.

The set is very simple moveable white rostra that is sometimes moved by the stage crew, which looks out of place and pulls focus from the action on stage.

The production is light hearted and easy to watch with comical elements and magical spells.

From an unsure and hesitant beginning, the young actors’ performances only improve as their confidence grows, showing what great potential they have.

It will always be a challenge to do justice to one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, but this group of young actors make a great attempt.

Running time: One hour and 30 minutes
(Shown as a double bill with Teechers.)
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street, EH3 9AX
Friday 19-Saturday 20 July 2019
Evenings: 7.30pm.

All Edinburgh Theatre would like to thank the Lyceum Youth Theatre’s Summer on Stage and Strangetown for their support of this scheme.

Amy Quinn’s reviews of Teechers is on the previous page here.

END

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Mary macleod says:

    This paints a good picture of both the setting and indidual performances.

Your comments