A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare in the Green Park

A joint production by the Rondo Theatre Company and Bath Drama, this event was for many years an open air play performed for charity in Royal Victoria Park. Inclement weather was also a regular feature of this event, thus a move to the drier surroundings of the Victorian Green Park station makes a welcome change. As one might expect, the first night was accompanied by a clear, sunny sky…

Perhaps the most popular and performed Shakespeare play, this is a tale of the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, Duke of Athens, and Hippolyta, plus four young lovers, a troupe of amateur actors, the King and Queen of the fairies Oberon and Titania, Oberon’s servant Puck, and the fairies. Simple really, unless you are easily confused.

In keeping with the locomotive surroundings, Theseus (Tim Carter) was dressed as Brunel with the other actors in similar 1840’s costume, and excellent costumes they were, though with Puck and the fairies in more traditional style.

Directors Matt and Mel Nation have pared the play down to a more modern length – and the enthusiastic cast revelled in the fast pace. Titania being suitably louche plus – newish to me – and Jenny Ebrey as an effective, elegant, Helena.

Acoustics in the old station could be better and will undoubtedly be tweaked as the week progresses but it’s a dramatic space, and with the accompanying refreshments provided by the Green Park Brasserie, it’s certainly an improvement from the previous wet lawn.

Unlucky for those without bookings, but fortunately for the producers and chosen charity (Dorothy House), it’s already a sell out run. Well done.

Philip Horton (Bath Chronicle)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Review (Guide2Bath.)

Barbara Denyer reviews A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Green Park Station running until 22 June 2013.
If you think you have seen all the possibilities for open air productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, then think again. Bath Drama and the Rondo Theatre Group have moved their annual Shakespeare in the Park

co-production to the shelter of the vaulted iron and glass roof of the old Green Park Station. Not only does this move give audience and actors alike some well needed protection from the elements, it’s provides the perfect backdrop for a Victorian production that revels in its gothic setting.

Directors Matt & Mel Nation and designer, David Wood have created a visually stunning production. No leafy glades and pretty little sprites for them. This is a production set in the heart of the Industrial Revolution; Theseus takes the form of the great Brunel himself, the mechanicals are railway workers and Quince, played by Rebecca Key, is an
early suffragette keen to educate the workforce.
It is the fairies, however, that steal the show. In stunning costumes by Lauren Ayres, these are dark, gothic creatures inspired more by Tim Burton than Arthur Rackham. In the hands of Verity Neeves, Puck is no mischievous Robin Goodfellow but a sinister, malevolent spirit you would not want to meet in a dark alley.

The use of Green Park station was not without its problems and there were occasions when the actors were competing with the sound of motorbikes. It was, however, warm, dry and an inspired choice for this gothic, entertaining production of Shakespeare’s classic tale.

A superb event, with all profits going to Dorothy House Hospice.

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