Tag Archives: Criterion Theatre

A Midsummer Night’s Dream


Criterion Theatre

A Midsummer

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Criterion Theatre

Reviewed – 10th December 2019



“If you need a boost, a good laugh and some quality theatre, get yourself along to enjoy this treat of a show.”


This production by the National Youth Theatre, in association with Knee High, is delightful. It was lovely to see and hear the energetic and talented young cast speaking Shakespeare as naturally as if they were out with their mates; different accents relished too.

The NYT says in the programme, ‘We are more than a theatre company. We put young people centre stage. We empower young people to be part of something BIGGER. We create amazing shows. We nurture tomorrow’s creatives …We celebrate the individuality and diversity of Britain’s youth in all it’s forms.’ In this production they showcased a wonderful ensemble who brought Shakespeare’s cherished comedy to vibrant life and kept the audience well entertained.

Bottom was played by Jemima Mayala with enormous energy and bubbling humour. She had us all in stitches, and she can really sing too. Ella Dacres gave us a contemporary teenage Puck, mischievous and cool and Bede Hodgkinson was a remarkably strong and mature Oberon, with more humanity in his fairy meddling that is often evident. Helena and Hermia, played by Jamie Foulks and Julia Kass were particularly fun in the famous row in the woods. It worked having a male Helena, and Foulks managed it without a trace of affectation. Billy Hinchliff’s Lysander was so changed by the fairy influence that he became a posturing, hilarious dandy, strutting and puffing out his chest, a bit like a bonobo on heat. It was brilliant. Every cast member, even those with smaller parts, was memorable; Jordan Ford Silver’s Wall and Joseph Payne’s Lion were lovely comedy gems, and Raj Singh made his little ‘moon’ shine brightly.

Director Matt Harrison has allowed his young cast to unleash their naturalness and enjoyment in this ageless text, giving it a contemporary, playful and relatable feel. The abridgement was accomplished by Kate Kennedy without losing any of the essential story or charm of the piece, and bringing it in at ninety minutes. The action is set in Athens on Sea, a playful imagining with a waltzer car, a fish and chip shop and balloons, a perfect setting for the action, which includes some punchy dance numbers, choreographed by Rebecca Cuthbertson and performed with sparkle and pzazz by the ensemble.

This was the first National Youth Theatre production that I have seen, and it won’t be the last. If you need a boost, a good laugh and some quality theatre, get yourself along to enjoy this treat of a show.


Reviewed by Katre

Photography by Helen Murray


A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Criterion Theatre until 17th January


Previously reviewed at this venue:
The Comedy About a Bank Robbery | ★★★★★ | April 2018


Click here to see our most recent reviews


The Comedy About a Bank Robbery – 5 Stars


The Comedy About a Bank Robbery

Criterion Theatre

Reviewed – 12th April 2018


“for anyone and everyone looking for a short pick-me-up”


In our current sociopolitical climate whereby each week we are inundated with news stories that project uncertainty about our future, it seems necessary now more than ever for the theatre to take a break from its societal projection and instead provide some escapism. The Comedy About a Bank Robbery by Mischief Theatre, complete with a range of Doo-Wop classic hits and quick-witted comic moments  is just the tonic that everyone needs.

After The Play that Goes Wrong and Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Mischief Theatre brought their third production to the West End and it differs slightly from their previous shows. The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is set in 1950s Minneapolis and follows a planned bank robbery by two escaped convicts. It’s a fast-paced and impeccably timed production that combines various types of humour which brings the audience together rather early on in the show. The show itself is incredibly demanding both physically and technically for all involved, and relies heavily on perfect timing, which is pulled off astonishingly well. One moment, in particular, involved a joke that focused on shifting the Fourth Wall to a bird’s eye perspective, quite a feat for all those within the scene but flawlessly executed.

As the show enters its third year, the newly arrived cast were an unbelievable team of actors. Chris Leask stood out in particular as he adopted such a range of different roles throughout the production that it was easy to lose count. The sheer physicality of his performance was memorable and quite central to the overall progression of the plot.

Sometimes it’s incredibly satisfying to be part of an audience that isn’t relied on too heavily by the production, and instead one simply has to sit back and enjoy the show, allowing the familiar fifties tunes to escort you to a dream-like version of 1950s America.

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is for anyone and everyone looking for a short pick-me-up in this time of social and political upheaval. An incredibly enjoyable evening guaranteed!


Reviewed by Claire Minnitt

Photography by Robert Workman


The Comedy About a Bank Robbery

Criterion Theatre until 7th April 2019


Interview – Peter McGovern


Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com