A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The George Inn, Southwark
Reviewed – 8th September 2018
“there was a palpable sense that this was a Shakespearean comedy as it was written; beer in hand, actors bellowing over a rowdy audience and an overall good time”
The Three Inch Fools present their version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The George Inn in Borough as a fusion of high-energy multi-role Shakespearian comedy with folk song and dance folded between, and into, the scenes. The end result is an enjoyable, energetic version of the classic cutting through the noisy beer garden and giving the family audience a fun and easy evening.
Directed by Stephen Hyde, this show is pure performance; our five actors cycle through the characters, each positively vibrating with enthusiasm. Claire Parry is a standout but all five were able musicians, great singers and obviously seriously physically fit to keep each scene louder, quicker and with more steam than the last!
Hyde is also the composer and, along with Eddie Mann as the Associate Musical Director, he gives the show its brilliant, if predictable, music with a series of folk-style songs, performed by the actors. These songs will catch any audience member momentarily relaxing with a hit of creativity to leave each moment filled with a can-you-hear-me-at-the-back attitude.
Unfortunately, high-energy does not a great show make. For families and in the fantastic George Inn, the show powered through as true pub theatre and was tight, well-rehearsed but perhaps not as thoughtful as it might have been. The comedy was generous and accessible although repetitive, and the multi-role work was clever and fun (a piece of costume for each character) but lacked the commitment in voice and physicality to not appear as a choice borne of necessity rather than creativity.
What this production lacked in substance, it made up for in comic commitment as the Fools battled and overcame a loud and boisterous beer garden. In many ways, the George Inn was a sixth actor, one that couldn’t keep quiet! There has been a public house on the site since Chaucer’s times (The Canterbury Tales begins there) and with the original Rose and Globe only metres away there is little doubt that the man himself once sat in the courtyard and was rained on a little as we were (bring an anorak!). This context and the cobbled streets meant that, for a touring production, the show felt specific to the George Inn and the performance was best enjoyed as a whole, rather than isolating only the on-stage action. The evening was impossible not to enjoy and at times there was a palpable sense that this was a Shakespearean comedy as it was written; beer in hand, actors bellowing over a rowdy audience and an overall good time.
Reviewed by William Nash
Photography courtesy Three Inch Fools
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The George Inn, Southwark until 16th September
Other versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream