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It may be the nation's favourite Shakespeare, but when you stop and think about it, A Midsummer Night's Dream is pretty damn problematic: a messy, uncomfortable story of misogyny, manipulation and substance abuse. His production unleashes all that's ugly in the play, and all that's repellant in its characters. One half-expects to see used condoms and broken glass buried in the mire. And they're inhabited by fairies of a different sort, sprites unhinged by jealousy, maddened with lust, and fuelled by a furious desire for revenge.
Johannes Schütz's startling set consists of little more than a semi-circle of treacherous mud, across which the cast stagger their wanton way until, by the conclusion, they're caked in filth. No longer are the woods surrounding Athens a magical, ethereal realm, they're the last day of Glastonbury.
She has been described by the British Theatre Guide's Philip Fisher as one of the United Kingdom's "brightest and most versatile young actresses".
She grew up in London and started her career as a child actress.
I used to go to local drama festivals and read out poems I had written, and once she’d put me up for a couple of roles I landed a job at the RSC doing The Merry Wives of Windsor.
I know what it is like to be in their shoes because I caught the acting bug very young.
It happened by accident: I used to go to old-fashioned speech lessons once a week for confidence in reading and a bit of fun.
Michael Gould's shirtless, scowling Oberon is a study in patriarchal anger, Lloyd Hutchinson's Puck his lazy, slobbish, sardonic collaborator, and Anastasia Hille’s Titania their disobedient plaything. John Dalgleish's Lysander, a Jack Wills shop on legs, isn't so much in love with Jemima Rooper's Hermia, as determined to wheedle his way into her knickers.
He isn't distracted from her by the juice of a little western flower, but by her refusal to put out. A Midsummer Night's Dream is a gloriously funny play, and Hill-Gibbins captures precious little of its humour. We're left with a mirthless, interval-less, two-hour mud bath that portrays men as aggressive sexual manipulators and women as powerless, vulnerable victims.
Chloe’s break up wasn’t the only reason to take a break with her former TV presenter parents, as over the last few months she’s been working tirelessly without a day off and suffered the loss of her grandmother.‘I was quite apprehensive about spending all that time with just Mum and Dad as we’d never been on holiday just the three of us before.
As much as they’re amazing they can also be annoying!
One book reviewer described it as “the finest work he has ever done”, another spoke of it as “the most hopelessly evil story that we’ve ever read in any literature”.
What is certain, it’s a tall order for a dramatist to capture the subtleties of James’s elusive prose in the more rough and ready medium of a play.
Oliver Alvin-Wilson's Demetrius is brutishly uncaring, callously warning Anna Madeley's Helena to conceal her virginity out here. There's sparks of it in Matthew Steer's Oxbridge-ish Peter Quince and in Leo Bill's Maria Mc Kee-singing, John Lennon lookalike Bottom. In pursuit of his seamy vision, Hill-Gibbins has thrown the baby out with the bathwater. His is a radical reimagining to be sure, one that brutally exposes the febrile depravity lurking underneath the conventional froth, but consider what's been sacrificed.
He teased out the theme in his novel What Maisie Knew and a year later, in The Turn of the Screw (1898), gave it the proper horror treatment.