Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pleasance

“A proper woman, as one shall see in a summer’s day”

It’s all in the name – the Reversed Shakespeare Company have set themselves up with the express intention of exploring and expanding gender roles by flipping the script and giving us Shakespeare’s male characters played as women, by women and vice versa. So instead of your Polonias and Malvolias, their debut production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream begins with Egeus and Hermia as a battling mother and son in the court of their Duchess, Theseus.

It may take a moment of adjustment, not least when Helena bounds onto stage with a luscious red beard, but it sets the scene for an adventurous, interesting take on the play, that really does have a lot to say in its shifted sexual dynamics. How often do we get to see women being this forthright and dominant in their relationship, or men demurring modestly from a quickie in the woods? Or indeed for that matter (especially in light of The Painkiller and indeed the whole of farce as a genre), how rare it is to see women allowed to be this physically funny onstage. Continue reading “Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pleasance”