Thursday, March 27, 2003

Knockabout dream needs more magic


Burnside Ballroom

Until March 29

Reviewed by Matt Byrne


DIRECTOR Thorin Cupit delivers a knockabout production of Shakespeare's finest comedy that aims to please and takes plenty of chances.

A large, enthusiastic and endlessly energetic cast give their all to make this path of true love as bumpy as possible.

There's Morris elf dancing, harmonious singing, Fruchoc gathering and sliding door segments that would delight any good fellow.

And there are some fine performances, especially from Rhodri Henry-Edwards, who makes a hugely entertaining, over-the-top Bottom, and Gerard Ryan, who exudes intrigue in Darth Vader mode as Oberon.

They receive good support from Theresa Dolman as Titania and Jamie Wright in fine fettle as Francis Flute, one the very popular mechanicals.

But what really makes the Dream is the magic and the vagaries of love, and there needs to be much much more done with the lighting, special effects and the subtleties of love's inconstancy.

The ballroom may not be conducive to great lighting but much more could be done with the lights it has. This show has to have magic and fairy lights alone won't do it.

The four-way love battle between Lysander (Rohan Watts), Hermia (Rachel Spargo), Demetrius (Lochie Cupit) and Helena (Carly Whittaker) becomes a bedroom farce without a bedroom.

And while there are ample bosom jokes to match the ample bosoms, there are many more levels that could be explored.

Louise Brumby brings a delightful dance dimension to Puck but this plum part needs an experienced actor to bring out the many twists in blind Cupid's perilous plot.

The gaggle of goblins and Gulf War fairies keep the action moving and a big audience enjoyed the generous spirit of last Saturday evening's performance.

So if this shadow hath offended, grab a ticket and see what's mended, all this love for one small fee, ah what fools these critics be!

· Abridged version of this review published in the Eastern Courier Messenger, 26-3-3, p. 35.

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