A Midsummer Night's Dream
3rd August 2018
The Italian Gardens Eastbourne
Type of Production
Author: Brenda Gower
It’s always a magical experience at the Italian Gardens when EODS are there in the summer and this time magic abounded together with much frolic and fun! Shakespeare’s story is always wonderful but it is down to the Director, Cast and Crew to bring it to life which certainly happened with this production.
The setting for The Dream could not have been better. We were sitting in a woodland glade and the actual scenery, whether it was depicting The Palace of Theseus or the heart of the woodland transported us immediately. As the audience were settling we were entertained by members of The Rude Mechanicals acting really as cheer leaders, getting us in the mood for what was to follow which they did most successfully!
We begin with the Nobles, all playing their parts to perfection as the love story between Hermia (Helen Wood) and Lysander (Leigh Jordan) and between Helena (Megan Good) and Demetrius (Warren Goddard) starts to unfold with many alarms and excursions along the way!
Sandra had exactly the right idea in dressing the fairies as she did. Their costumes of lovely muted browns and greens with leafy additions gave them just the right earthiness to blend into the forest. If I ever have fairies at the bottom of my garden, I shall expect them to look like this! All their activity was well planned and beautifully carried out with Martha Fillery as Titania’s First Fairy, Heather Tingley as Peaseblossom, Kirsten Grinstead as Cobweb, Pamela Kirkwood as Mustardseed and Pam Cross as Moth all acting as Titania’s Fairies. Oberon’s Fairies were played by The Sea Gypsies with their leader, Alison Lee-Eyre carrying out the excellent choreography for the whole production.
Oberon and Titania were played by Anthony Lusted and Elly Tipping, doubling as Theseus and Hippolyta. Splendid acting from both in each of their roles. Dave Fricker was the extremely athletic Robin Goodfellow (Puck), also doubling as Philostrate. Puck weaved his magic in many ways, one being the transformation of Bottom the Weaver into an ass with a very suitable head and many superb “hew haws!” the spell of course making Titania fall madly in love with him. Such fun!
Then of course The Rude Mechanicals took the stage and we saw them both in planning their play and performance, both with hilarious consequences! All their characters were well thought out with Richard Fisher as Peter Quince, David Nicholles as Nick Bottom, Max Mason as Francis Flute with Ashley Jones as Snug, Roger Tomlinson as Starveling and Bob Lester as Tim Snout.
All lovers were eventually reunited and we awoke from this wonderful dream which I know will stay in our minds for a very long time.
So many thanks must go to all those who not only worked the Dream for us on stage but to those who spend so much time in setting up the marquees, lighting, sound and a hundred and one other things that have to be done behind the scenes (not forgetting those responsible for the interval refreshments which are always so much appreciated). All the costumes were amazing as was the set and the original music composed and directed by James Tomlinson, played on early music instruments was so atmospheric. How lovely to have live music. The programme, as usual, was very well designed and interesting to read. Special thanks must, of course, go to Director Sandra Tomlinson for all her hard work in bringing yet another magical production to the Italian Gardens.