Wed 11 Aug, Bowring Park
Quantum Theatre presents a brand new production of Shakespeare’s most enduringly popular play of love and intrigue, magic and celebration set on that most dangerous of nights when fairies are abroad and nothing is as it seems…
With a quarrel raging between Oberon, King of the fairies and his Queen, Titania four young lovers become entangled in their magical affray and soon no mortals are safe in those bewitched and bewitching woods outside Athens.
Quantum Theatre’s stylish and whimsical production presents a flight of magical fancy where real life is unexpectedly entangled with the supernatural, where willow-the-wisp fairies, unsuspecting artisans and ardent young lovers are woven together by the finest gossamer thread: “I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was…
Where applicable, advertised ticket prices are inclusive of a venue levy, retained by the venue to maintain our programme of arts and entertainment.
What’s on – stage – stage reviews
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Michelham Priory, near Hailsham
Quantum Theatre’s accessible and fun production was contemporary without being contrived. The use of pop songs added to the comedy as a jack-the-lad Demetrius (Paul Hampton inexplicably dressed as if auditioning for Miami Vice) came on stage to the tune of You’re so Vain. Meanwhile, the wedding celebration featured all the old favourites, including the Duke as a sort of embarrassing uncle struggling to do the Macarena.
Shakespeare’s tale of love transformed, misplaced and finally restored had a relevance not seen in other productions – without destroying the magic. For example, in a scene familiar in town centres everywhere, a thwarted Hermia (Amie Clapson) swung her handbag at Helena (Siri Ingul) while a laughing Demetrius and Lysander (Kevin Kemp) looked on.
The cast of six took on multiple roles, seamlessly switching from one to the next. Clapson had fun as an energetic Puck, complete with EastEnders accent and a Don King wig, while Hampton made an ass of himself as Bottom. The device enabled some nice parallels as, for example, Ingul’s bewitched Titania pursued the donkey-headed Bottom with the same passion her wonderfully obsessive Helena had chased after Demetrius.
My one (small) criticism is that this production did not make enough use of the gorgeous setting. Despite this, it was a magical performance – and, like half the cast, I was spellbound.
Park evening was perfect - A Midsummer Night's Dream, Congleton Park
IT'S A brave theatre company that performs in the open air, particularly in a damp August – and it's a brave audience that sets off with picnics, rugs and brollies to Congleton Park for an evening beneath not altogether welcoming skies.
The bravery was amply rewarded, though, with a dry night and a boisterous, bouncy production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Quantum Theatre – a London-based touring company – knows how to reach out to its public. The production, performed by just six energetic actors playing all roles, combined slapstick, conjuring tricks and pop music to engage the audience without in the least debasing Shakespeare's play.
There is a marvellous handbagging scene as Hermia (Amie Clapson) belts the living daylights out of Helena (Siri Ingul) who she believes has stolen her lover Lysander (Kevin Kemp). Cunning staging allows actors to disappear into trunk which is then picked up and carried away, and craftily chosen snippets of pop music offer a neat commentary on the action. There's also a weather forecast from a portable radio.
Pride of place, though, must go to the "rude mechanicals" – the tradesmen who present a play within a play. The audience loved the hapless Peter Quince (Kevin Kemp) trying to rehearse his ragamuffin crew of Snug (Paul Chambers), Bottom (Paul Hampton) and other members of the versatile cast.
I'd not come across Quantum Theatre before. If it returns I shall look forward to another evening in the park – even if next time it rains.
Most performances go ahead rain or shine! But please note the following:-
If it’s raining at the start time, we’ll forge ahead in the hope that the rain will clear up soon. It will have to be raining very hard indeed for the start to be delayed.
If conditions become genuinely unsafe, for example if the performance space is flooded or there is a lightning storm, we will stop the show.
Light to medium rain won’t put us off, but if rain is heavy or torrential (and the audience can’t hear the performance) we will stop the show until the rain clears sufficiently for us to continue.
If we can’t go ahead due to the weather, we will transfer your tickets to another performance or refund your ticket money. If we get through most of the performance and then have to stop because of heavy rain, we’ll transfer your tickets to a different performance.
Adult £12 / Child £8
Family of four (min 2 children) £35
Show running time (approx): 2 hours including an interval
This event is outdoors so dress for the weather. Also, there's no seating so bring cushions or rugs to sit on.