Whenever the Northern Ballet heads this far south, audiences are in for a treat and their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at the Mayflower in Southampton this week, is a magical train ride of expert storytelling.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
The setting is a 1940s ballet company, with a wonderful contrast between the more restrained first act and the vibrant and energetic dream world in the second.
The set transforms itself from a ballet studio to a steam train through Duncan Hayler’s clever and imaginative design.
Tobias Batley as Theseus/Oberon and Martha Leebolt as Hippolyta/Titania are the dream pair.
Isaac Lee-Baker’s Lysander and Dreda Blow’s Hermia are also in perfect harmony.
Demetrius and Helena, danced by Giuliano Contadini and Michela Paolacci respectively, fizzle with chemistry while Nicola Gervasi delights as the sprightly Puck – a dancer of immense talent and range.
The Northern Ballet is well known for its imaginative adaptations of stories outside the traditional ballet sphere.
It’s not often one can laugh at the ballet, but the humour from the original play bubbles through artistic director David Nixon’s production.
The inventive choreography plays on the characters’ complicated relationships to create a delightful piece of storytelling.