Shakespeare’s Globe opens with Sean Holmes’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream one of theatre’s first press nights, a bright and bold “Mardi Gras” style production with a socially distanced audience. A wonderful place to return to the theatre, the Globe has its own magic as night falls and the stage is lit up by the actors in their multi-coloured costumes, sparkles glitter. pointed hats for the fairies, sequins, the backdrop is a simple set decorated with bright coloured “banners” which looks like a large wide string made out of hundreds of different coloured pompoms. (Main image: Shona as Helena credit ©Tristram Kenton)
Shona Babayemi plays Helena with puts in a no nonsense performance as one of the four lovers, who are all dressed in black and white, with tailcoats and black trousers. Babayemi is new to her role alongside Peter Bourke and Victoria Elliott as Oberon and Titania, Ciáran O’Brien as Demetrius is the only one of the lovers to return. This new fun-filled staging sees new cast member, Nadi Kemp-Sayfi as Hermia, Nadine Higgin returns in charge of the Rude Mechanicals as Peter Quince wrestling with Sophie Russell, the new very funny Bottom.
The 1600 capacity is down to an audience of 400, on stage the actors are socially- distanced: which one does not notice immediately, it is only something you think about after. The Hackney Colliery Band, and a mobile disco, joined by an audience member recruited as one of the rude mechanicals, add to the party vibes on stage.
This version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream plays to the theatre starved audiences who just want a good night out and to laugh with and observe a group of masked strangers, such a good feeling. If you want thought-provoking poetry, then this is not it. But if you want a great night out with sass in perhaps one of the grandest buildings in London then book a ticket, and they are some great performances!!