A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham – until 30th March 2024

Reviewed by Jacqui Radford


Picture by Antony Thompson/Thousand Word Media Ltd © Thousand Word Media Ltd 2024

This production of a timeless comedy brings Shakespeare to an accessible level, regardless of any previous experience or persuasion. As an Everyman Theatre Company production incorporating Tweedy, a celebrated local clown, Cheltenham is a perfect start for a tour that will move on to Malvern, York, Southampton and Coventry.

Most people attending this production will either be there because they love the play or because they’re hoping to see it portrayed in a format that leaves them with a sense of at least an understanding the play. For me, it was apparent that the classic Shakespeare text and modernised rhyme exceeded expectation. Tweedy’s clowning around and the effect it had on the production reminded me how much Shakespeare’s clowns contributed to the enjoyment factor in so many of his plays.

The plot unfolds from a setting in Athens and is delivered by a cast of just ten people: each of them playing a role either as a lover, member of the court, fairy, or artisan performer. Tweedy, cast as Bottom enhances the comedy value of the performance and as the most recognisable is the thread between scenes.

The brilliance of this performance lies in the cast’s ability to flex between roles, interpreting the multiple expressions of them and delivering perfect comedy and slapstick. Mention should be given to Laura Noble (Helena/Flute/Mustardseed), Jeremy Stockwell (Egius/Puck/Snug), Oliver Brooks (Lysander/Starveling/Moth) and Nadia Shash (Hermia/Quince/Peaseblossom).

If you love this Shakespeare classic or want to understand the influence of Shakespeare or understand his plays in a modern context, book your seats now