Mystical havoc with classic play

Southsea Shakespeare actors is performing A Midsummer Nights Dream at Groundlings Theatre from November 23-26. L-R Roger Easey as Egeus, Eleanor-Blackham as Hermia, Alex Butterfield as lysander and Patric Howe as Theseus  Picture: Paul Jacobs (114001-2)

Southsea Shakespeare actors is performing A Midsummer Nights Dream at Groundlings Theatre from November 23-26. L-R Roger Easey as Egeus, Eleanor-Blackham as Hermia, Alex Butterfield as lysander and Patric Howe as Theseus Picture: Paul Jacobs (114001-2)

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With dark nights and winter weather outside the Groundlings Theatre will be transformed into a mystical forest next week, with mischievous fairies causing havoc in love as they stumble across four lovers.

Shakespeare’s famous comedy is instantly recognisable, as Southsea Shakespeare Actors will return to the Groundlings Theatre to put on A Midsummer Night’s Dream from November 23-26.

The performance is following on from the group’s production of Romeo and Juliet last year, which placed Lara Hardwick as runner-up in this year’s Guide Awards Best Amateur Actress category.

The play portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke Of Athens, Theseus, and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta. But as four Athenian lovers venture into the forest, the fairies who live there start to work their magic.

Nick Horne, director of the production, is basing the run around the Festival Of Britain in 1951.

He explains: ‘I got inspired by the festival, which was really the first time that people started to think about the future again, and the design got quite futuristic.

‘Everything got a bit more colourful and people starting looking forward, not looking back to the past. I thought maybe I could somehow use that idea with the dream.’

With rehearsals starting in early September, Nick has unique ideas for the actor’s costumes, let alone the whole performance.

He adds: ‘Musically we are going really Fifties. The fairies will be dressed quite differently to the mortals, who will be in modernish dress. They will be from a different era, maybe the 18th century it will end up being.

‘It’s been very good so far. There is a great mixture of experienced people who’ve been in the performances quite a few times, and there are people who haven’t been with us before. It adds some really interesting characters to the company.’

Tickets cost £6 to £10 from Groundlings Theatre on (023) 9273 7370 or go to groundlings.co.uk.

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