Running Headlong into epic Dream

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Promise and Promiscuity

REVIEW: Promise & Promiscuity at The Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham

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Time: the 1960s. Setting: a film studio. Subject: the shooting of a Hollywood epic under the watchful eye of long-suffering movie director Robin Goodfellow.

Hippolyta’s turbulent off-camera relationship with co-star Theseus is fast becoming the love-hate liaison of the century – and as their passions rise and tempers fray, this is not the only romance to have blossomed on set.

Welcome to the innovative Headlong theatre company’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Combining Shakespeare’s text with cutting-edge techniques, the co-production with the Nuffield Theatre had its first public preview at the Southampton venue last night.

It uses video, movement and music to relocate the comedy at the heart of a magical whirlwind of passion and performance – and asks whether love, like beauty, is really only in the eye of the beholder.

The production follows two previous collaborations between the Nuffield and Headlong – Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness and The Winter’s Tale.

Using video, movement and music, Headlong now seek to create a magical whirlwind of passion and performance.

Movement director Georgina Lamb has worked with the fairies on a Busby Berkeley-esque movement sequence used to lull Titania to sleep.

Both Hippolyta and Titania are played by Emily Joyce who appeared in Yes, Prime Minister at Chichester last summer.

Headlong are dedicated to new ways of making theatre under the leadership of artistic director Rupert Goold.

He announced himself on the south coast with productions at Chichester of Macbeth (with Patrick Stewart), Six Characters In Search Of An Author, and Enron – all expressions of the company’s policy of exploring both revolutionary writers and practitioners of the past and pushing imaginative boundaries.

Now that challenge is taken on by Natalie Abrahami as director of the new Dream. She is joint artistic director of the Gate Theatre in London.

The production runs until February 19. Tickets: (023) 8067 1771 or nuffieldtheatre.co.uk