A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Lowther Rose Garden, Lytham
A warm and sunny Lowther Rose Gardens provided an ideal backdrop to an inventive modern-dress outdoor performance by the page2stage ensemble.
The company gives equal attention to all three parts of the play and, even at the height of the usual mayhem created by the Rude Mechanicals, never fails to give due weight to Shakespeare’s beautiful language, excellently and audibly spoken throughout by all eight cast members.
James Austin Harvey as Bottom is first class – in turns gawky, assured, fussy and commanding – and often full of extravagantly exaggerated comic gestures and eye-rolling. Michael Justice is a fiery Lysander and Matt Stubbs, is commanding as Oberon.
St Annes-born Kivan Dene, as a white faced Mohican-haired Puck, gives a high energy performance, sourcing his humour from everything from the Teletubbies to commedia del’arte. He’s more manic than magical, but it’s a fine piece of acting.
In a play dominated by the men Justine Elizabeth Bailey, Hayley Baines and Victoria Bell always hold our attention and there is very good support too from Darren Langford.
The ingenuity of playing the Mechanicals as early film and radio stars such Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx goes down well with the audience, but the pop music is more doubtful. It’s certainly a Dream to set you thinking and everyone came away feeling that Shakespeare, played like this, is accessible to all.
Continues until Saturday, times vary.