As one of Shakespeare’s best loved and most quoted plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is certainly a classic.
So surely when something’s not broke… don’t fix it?
Admittedly as I took my seat in Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre on Monday evening, I did groan a little when I read Filter theatre’s version of the play had been ‘remixed and reworked.’
Though I’m not a purist I had seen too many ‘modern adaptations’ of Shakespeare that just missed the mark – until this one.
With blues and rock songs belted out at full force by the cast, a superhero lycra-wearing Oberon, a full on food fight and a portion of the text being read in an Al Pacino impersonation; this was certainly no ordinary production.
With no interval, it was quite simply an hour and three quarters of sheer madness.
The setting was simple - there were no fancy stage scenes or settings just a little runway and a rather clinical looking bath to the left of the circular stage.
But none of this mattered; it was the spirit of the cast and their colourful interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that made it seem just right.
From very beginning much of the audience could be seen wiping away tears of laughter from the comic genius of Ed Gaughan, who played Peter Quince.
Without giving away too much, Fergus O’Donnell, who took the part of Bottom, was hilarious and certainly knew how to make an entrance.
The rest of the cast were delightful and everyone’s talents were certainly put to the test with each singing, playing instruments and really kept the energy and pace going throughout the whole 105 minutes.
The entire evening was a huge success and the intimate setting of the Royal Exchange was just perfect, with members of the audience even getting in on the act.
Though I may have started off a sceptic, Filter’s modern take convinced me that a modern take on a classic can work... just not how you might expect it!