New Bard works like a Dream

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A Midsummernight’s Dream, Grand Theatre, Blackpool

Fortunately for Shakespeare 4 Kidz, when their staight talking Puck spouted his streetwise spiel, the children in the audience absolutely loved it.

Shakespeare’s comedy has been condensed into just under two hours in two bite size acts to give youngsters an easily understandable taste of his work.

Although much of his rich language has been removed in favour of song and simple explanations, the most famous lines remain to give a more traditional flavour.

There is a huge emphasis on fun and farce with comedy invading the stage at every moment. Children roared with laughter at Sean Luckham’s egotistical Bottom as he over egged his epic death scene.

Richard Foster King’s high- pitched, balloon bosomed Thisbe also caused hysterics, especially at her explosive demise. The vertically ill matched young lovers also caused much mirth, especially the particularly petite Harry Smith with his arrogant and flamboyant Demetrius.

Song created fun moments, especially when Helena and Hermia traded some traditional Shakespearian insults to a jaunty little tune.

Noel Harron’s Puck undoubtedly stole the audience’s affections. Acrobatic and irreverent, he brought the production up to date and kept rapt attention with relentless slapstick.

Children were captivated right until the end of what was still a long production.

The panto-esque finale scored a massive cheer and proved Shakespeare can still be relevant for modern audiences and even young children.

Lisa Ettridge