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REVIEW: A Midsummer Night's Dream

By SPP Reporter

Alison Ozog (Hermia) and Fiona MacDonald (Helena) in an emotional moment from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Photo Callum Mackay.
Alison Ozog (Hermia) and Fiona MacDonald (Helena) in an emotional moment from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Photo Callum Mackay.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Florians Theatre

Bught Park

THAT it took some 40 years for Inverness amateur theatre group The Florians to first tackle Shakespeare could be seen as an illustration of how potentially daunting the world’s greatest playwright can be.

Fortunately it is a challenge that the current generation of Florians thesps — including an encouraging crop of fresh talent in this production — happily rise to,

One reason why this second production of the Dream from director John Claudius is so successful is that the cast do not treat it like Shakespeare in the sense that the actors avoid declaiming their lines in over elaborate theatrical manner.

Comfortably adopting Shakespeare’s vocal rhythm, they delivered their lines in a natural relaxed manner, playing the Dream as the comedy it was always meant to be.

With no visual effects and the simplest of sets, although nicely augmented by some original music from James Ross created for the 1993 version, it was down to the actors to conjure up the magic of Shakespeare’s fantasy, and they did so admirably well.

Comedy honours go to Trevor Nicol as Bottom, well served by a transformation into a donkey that leaves his expressive face free and the opportunity for a good actor to ham it up as a bad one as he claims the best roles in the play comic play-within-a-play.

He may get the bulk of the laughs, but a lion’s share goes to David Proudfoot as Snug the joiner, cast as a king of beasts so timid that it makes the one in The Wizard of Oz look like Vinnie Jones, despite his fears his roars will terrify the ladies of the Athenian court.

Then there are Queen Titania’s unharmonious fairy attendants, who succeed in lulling her to sleep despite one of their number being to lullabies what Attila the Hun was to diplomacy.

The more serious romantic plot also works well, thanks especially to the playing of Alison Ozog as a radiant Hermia and Fiona MacDonald as Helena, reacting with suspicion and upset to the unexpected declarations of love from their men folk (Graeme White and Andrew Gull).

With all the players playing their parts, this would have been a fine introduction for any Shakespeare newcomers to the lighter side of his work and when Nicholas Nicol’s impish Puck asks the audience to "give me your hands, if we be friends" in his closing speech, the audience happily did so in a well deserved burst of applause.


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