Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bridge Theatre

Nicholas Hytner gives us an utterly inspired take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre, with Gwendoline Christie in stupendous form

“Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have”

You can tell a lot about a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream from the way it treats its Hippolyta. Possessed of so few words, her presence is nevertheless vital for setting the tone of the play and from the moment you walk into the Bridge Theatre, you just know Nicholas Hytner has got it right. This conquered queen is caged in a glass box, as if an artefact in some grotesque museum and as an impassive Gwendoline Christie fixes us with her  stare, it’s a definitive commentary on the gender politics here before we’ve even started.

But even once the play starts, her power is no less unremarkable. As Hermia claims she knows not by what power she is made bold, one look at Hippolyta’s hand against the glass leaves you in  no doubt of the source of her new found confidence. Small but powerful changes that set the scene perfectly for Hytner’s most striking innovation which, as it reveals itself in the following act, proved to be one of the most thrilling ways to re-infuse excitement into this oft-performed classic. Continue reading “Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bridge Theatre”

Review: State of Fear. Responsibility to…?, Southwark Playhouse

“Do you think we should…maybe…help”

Time Zone Theatre’s call for budding playwrights to respond to the current UK political climate saw over 200 writers submit work and once 7 successful entrants were chosen, they were staged as an evening at the Southwark Playhouse called State of Fear. Responsibility to…?. New writing, fresh acting talent, emerging directors and hyper-contemporary reference points, it all made for quite the sparky Sunday evening. 

My unpreparedness for the roads of Elephant and Castle being replaced meant I missed the opening two shorts, The Watchers by Jayne Woodhouse and Just Like Me by Rob Johnston. But I was able to take in the other 5 and get a good sense for the over-riding themes of the evening – a burning anger at the ruling elite (in all its forms) and a fierce indictment of societal indifference in response. Continue reading “Review: State of Fear. Responsibility to…?, Southwark Playhouse”