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A Midsummer Night’s Dream
November 21st - November 25th
The Award winning Flabbergast Theatre bring a rambunctious approach to Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Goblins and Sprites run amok as the King and Queen of the Faeries settle a spat causing havoc among the humans caught up in their machinations.
Combining a respectful approach to the text and a creative focus on storytelling, Flabbergast bring the magic of midsummer alive with physical comedy, folk song, dance, and expert use of European theatre arts.
Photo credit: Flabbergast Theatre
Excellent production from a young cast. As good as the play I saw in Stratford upon Avon on Monday. Deserves a bigger audience.
Well a cast of eight performed multiple characters giving the impression of a much larger cast it was a wonderful interpretation of the classic play and well worth seeing as Oberon pointed out to the quite small audience we will wait 5 minutes before starting the long first act if anyone wants a loo break first they engaged and interacted at times with the audience although a knowledge of the play is useful it's well worth a visit to just come watch some wonderful actors performing one of the classic s that's not to hard to follow
Plutonium Sox - Natalie Ray
This production is a great example of how much you can achieve with a basic set and a small, dedicated cast playing multiple parts. Clever use of costume changes, masks, props and even stilts distinguish the characters so well that my daughter was shocked that so few actors came forward for the bow. She genuinely thought there were at least twice as many people on stage.
And on that note, is Flabbergast Theatre a good introduction to Shakespeare for a young audience? Absolutely. Will they completely follow what’s being said on stage? No. Does it matter? Also no. Despite remaining true to the script, this adaptation portrays A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the most lively way possible.
At times, I struggled to understand what Bottom was saying as the mask was just slightly too low on his face so the sound became a muffled. That combined with the flowery language made for difficult listening. My girls (aged 9 and 11) found a lot of the speech tricky to follow, as you would imagine. But because of the animated, energetic style of performance, they still kept up with the story.
I would particularly recommend the production for high-school children studying the play in school. Their level of understanding would be better after analysing the script and this adaptation really does bring it to life with a bang.
The View from the Stalls - Pete Phillips
Another very imaginative re-interpretation of classic Shakespeare
Flabbergast Theatre definitely have form when it comes to interpreting Shakespeare. It is only a few weeks ago that they appeared on the Malvern stage to present their somewhat unique version of Macbeth. And now they are back with something rather more comedic in the guise of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Full of goblins, fairies and sprites, comedy, dance and folk songs, this is an interpretation as remote from any standard presentation of Shakespeare's classic that you could imagine.
Welcomed (as with Macbeth) by the cast already on stage and roaming around the auditorium as the small but appreciative first-night audience take their seats, the impression you get is that this is exactly how Shakespeare's contemporary audience may have seen the play, travelling from place to place with minimal sets to contend with. Here, there is basically just a large farm cart and some bales of hay - the rest is down to the cast, donning various masks as they switch between the characters (though in truth, the masks sometimes made the dialogue hard to follow). In fact, the only trace of modernity was the very up to date looking pair of stilts, which looked great fun!
The interaction between the actors is key to the success of the show, particularly in this case Helena, Hermia, Demetrius and Lysander and there was some very funny slow-motion fighting - as well as some other action - taking place on the farm cart. Puck was in his/her element throughout, mischievous as always, even sitting down with the audience at one point with a bag of popcorn. If that doesn’t tell you that this is a very different type of show, nothing will!
In essence, you probably do need to be already acquainted with the play to appreciate this interpretation, such is it complexity masked as comedy. Go with an open mind, however, and you will enjoy its fripperies and comedy in much the same way as the audience for whom it was originally intended.
What's On Worcestershire - Sue Hull
Award-winning and fabulous Flabbergast are an ensemble who always like to leave a lasting impression. Now, following on from 2022’s bizarre, remarkable and critically acclaimed production of Macbeth, comes this splendidly imaginative show: a fun, frivolous, fantastic and fast-moving celebration of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
And it’s a play that really is a perfect vehicle for a theatre company which, given their name, presumably like to leave their audiences flabbergasted...
Accessible language, likeable characters and a series of comic capers with an ass combine to make Dream one of Shakespeare’s most popular works. For those not familiar with the storyline, young lovers Demetrius and Lysander both fancy Hermia, leaving Helena sitting on the shelf. Meanwhile, the king and queen of the fairies, Oberon and Titania, are up to no good. And as for the mystical and mischievous sprite Puck - well, to put it plainly, she’s got her finger in more pies than Mr Kipling. Add in a group of rude mechanicals and the recipe for success is guaranteed...
As we fast approach the winter solstice, this magical midsummer yarn is a production well worth catching. Sure, this is Shakespeare’s much-loved and oft-performed comedy - but not as we know it, might imagine it or would visualise it. For a start, the action takes place around an old haywain (which is an obsolete word for a large, horse-drawn open vehicle used to carry bails of hay). It’s easy to visualise an Elizabethan touring theatre company arriving in towns and villages in just such a contraption, eager to entertain local folk with their latest theatrical offering.
A cast of eight take on the challenge of playing all of the characters, their imaginative interpretations of some of Shakespeare’s most famous and best-loved creations being ably assisted by a clever use of masks. Memorable moments include Oberon (Krystian Godlewski) walking on spring stilts - making him look more like a mythical creature than a man - and Demetrius (Nadav Burstein) and Lysander (Elliot Pritchard) miming a great comic fight over Helena - in slow motion, in the back of the haywain. There’s also a stand-out performance full of mischief from Puck, who’s played by the exceptional Lennie
Longworth, making her professional debut and surely kickstarting a stellar career.
Excellent choreography, enjoyable folk singing, a high level of energy and a capacity to at all times look spontaneous further ensure that this immersive experience is a real joy to watch.
Flabbergast are an ensemble of physical-theatre specialists well worth checking out. Their productions brilliantly showcase their off-the-wall creativity. Meanwhile, their admirable commitment to presenting work that is irreverent, absorbing, compelling and thought-provoking ensures a theatrical experience which, at worst, is never dull, and at best, something to behold.
Check them out while they’re in the region. You never know... at the end of the night, you might even find yourself leaving the theatre feeling well and truly flabbergasted.
This was amazing, so much energy and a really entertaining, fascinating and funny night out. Every actor was fabulous and so much to see.