Paul M Ford
Technical Crew Details:
Reviewed by Donald Madgwick for The Croydon Advertiser
Yes this is a production to grace a summer’s night
Visiting Shakespeare’s Athenian woods for the third time in a month, I recalled Oscar Wilde’s dictum that nothing succeeds like excess. Indeed, hand on heart, my three July Dreams have all been thoroughly enjoyable occasions, and this one by no means least.
The enterprising Theatre Workshop Coulsdon are becoming old hands at the open-air game, having staged three previous productions at The Woodman pub.
The gardens prove ideal for the present enterprise, with the cunningly costumed fairies blending into the wooded background like camouflaged sprites and the lovers lending enchantment to the pastoral setting.
The lyrical text is delivered with an assurance born of Richard Lloyd’s confident direction.
His own Oberon and Lisa Lloyd’s Titania, a truly regal pair, are prime examples of the blending of poetry and magic, and the authority with which they are imbued.
There is an almost pantomimic quality about the lovers’ confusion in the woods. Simeon Dawes’ posturing Demetrius and Neil Grew’s hot-headed Lysander adopt a stylised manner as they vie for the love of Tina Bretman’s splendidly spoken Helena, while Tatiana Allison’s Hermia rages like a thwarted imp.
This all serves to underline the supernatural direction of Paul Breden’s mercurial Puck.
The hempen homespun actors are under a different sort of authority, that of the actor-managerish Quince of Chris Argles, who brings his roistering troupe under a wayward discipline.
Full marks to Paul M Ford’s uproarious, expressive Bottom and all the crew.
Paul Beaumont and Vicky Gunstone, as Theseus and Hippolyta, benignly endure not only the Pyramus play and its galumphing dance sequel but also the self-satisfied paternal rage of Bruce Montgomery as Egeus.
In sum, a production to grace a summer night, crowned by excellent music and special effects.