Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Square Tower, Old Portsmouth

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CCADS, long known for their willingness to push boundaries and experiment with different theatrical approaches, have finally found themselves taking on Shakespeare.

Director John-Paul McCrohon makes full use of the Square Tower’s unique atmosphere, with the audience heading upstairs for one scene and watching another in the bar before settling down.

Moving from place to place flattens the mood somewhat (especially with some audience members using it as an excuse to check their Facebook accounts), but the woodland glade set is well executed.

From the off faeries weave through the audience, aloof and distanced while a precursor to the plot plays out.

The story of course concerns four young lovers, their affections crossed and confused.

Our quartet here are youthful and vibrant but brush over some of the bard’s most barbed witticisms, losing the subtlety of their characters and seeming a little overwhelmed by the dialogue.

Elsewhere McCrohon makes for a suitably wrathful Oberon, Sean Ridley is a particularly elfin Puck, Kevin Redfern a surprisingly poignant Theseus and Tony Dart (as Bottom) and the Mechanicals provide wonderful comic relief.

What a delight it is to finally see Tim Skedge return to a Portsmouth stage too.

Oh yes... there’s even a dog!