A Midsummer Night's Dream
Revival of the play by William Shakespeare
"The direction by Benet Catty, very effective and straightforward, aimed at re-creating Shakespeare’s spirit...
The actors, too, involved the audience, performing not in a limited space but running among the spectators, appearing from the back and disappearing into the shadows, reciting in a very natural manner, loudly and clearly. The cast was enjoyable. Jamie Alan Osborne, who played Bottom was superb. Andrew Lancaster as Oberon, Jon Bolitho-Jones as Demetrius, Harry Russel as Lysander, Beth Eyre as Helena and Alice Osmanski as Hermia were perfect.
if I could extract a common feeling of those seven hundred people in front of a plane tree on a midsummer’s night, it would be happiness, a complete, conscious and liberating happiness."
Beyond Thirty Nine
Directed by Benet Catty, this production of one of Shakespeare’s most frequently performed and fantastical plays is spirited and frequently hilarious.
Taking full advantage of the already dreamy setting (the actors hare about amongst the trees and dash into the audience for a frolic at various points), the central plot of Hermia and Lysander, two runaway lovers, is played out with boundless energy.
The comic neediness of Helena... earns actress Beth Eyre a special mention, but there are strong performances all round from the cast, all of whom play multiple characters throughout.
The shambolic band of thesps... also drew lots of big laughs from the crowd. My personal favourite character though was Nick Bottom, played by Jamie Alan Osborne, and his bellowing ‘in character’ outbursts during the rehearsals.
The climax of the show is the play-within-a-play at the Duke’s wedding. Brilliantly bonkers, or as Hippolyta has it, the ‘silliest stuff she ever did hear’, it concludes the production on a high note.
Fantastical frivolity... a saucily delightful production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream... Benet Catty’s direction beautifully captured the energy and vitality of the Bard’s celebration of freedom and fertility.
The primary storyline of runway lovers and misplaced potions was bounding with energy – to the point when it even got quite exhausting watching them flit from one bushy stage corner to the other.
The actors playing the bewildered lovers nicely doubled up as the players for secondary (and funnier) arc of the ‘rude mechanicals’ rehearsing a show for Duke Theseus’ play.
...the sheer comic brilliance and wonderful versatility of Jamie Alan Osborne as the self-important wannabe-thesp Nick Bottom. Osborne’s excellent timing and incredible ability to switch between Bottom’s character and Bottom ‘in character’ provoked some of the strongest laughs from the audience.
Strong support was there from Andrew Lancaster and Therese Robinson, playing both pairs of relative sanity - The Duke and Duchess and the fairy king and queen. Their mutual poise in both sets of roles made a nice contrast with the surrounding dizzying chaos.
Cambridge Evening News