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Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Norwich Theatre Royal

A charming, youthful take on William Shakespeare is presented by the Watermill Theatre production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, on at the Theatre Royal this week.

This remains the most popular of Shakespeare's comedies and however it is presented is a darn fine romp.

Even for Shakespeare, the plot is somewhat thin. It is more a series of sketches than a full-blown play, best summed up with its oft-quoted line:"The course of true love never did run smooth."

A Midsummer Night's Dream by Watermill Theatre. Photo: Scott Rylander (19435556)
A Midsummer Night's Dream by Watermill Theatre. Photo: Scott Rylander (19435556)

This is a tale of dreams and is therefore best presented with a dream-like quality and the young cast achieve that very well, incorporating modern music into the story to give it a bit of pep.

Songs included are Sam Cooke's Cupid, Nina Simone's Music for Lovers and My Baby Just Cares For Me. Probably most effectively it incorporates Blue Moon.

Such devices can sometimes feel clunky but I thought this worked well.

Emma Barclay as the dim-witted Bottom and Molly Chesworth as the mischievous Puck both rise to the occasion in the acting stakes, as does Emma McDonald as the Fairy Queen Titania.

A lovely evening to take your minds off your troubles!

A Midsummer Night's Dream is alternating with Watermill's production of Macbeth. Macbeth is tonight (Wednesday) and Saturday, AMND tomorrow, Friday and Saturday. Check for times 01603 630000.

Mark Leslie

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