A Midsummer Nights Dream
|Date||16th March 2017|
|Society||Springers Amateur operatic & Dramatic Society|
|Venue||Cramphorn Theatre, Chelmsford|
|Type of Production||Shakespeare 4 Kidz|
Author: Alexandra Berriman
I haven’t seen a Shakespeare 4 Kidz show before so I was really looking forward to this one, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream is probably my favourite Shakespeare play so I knew I was going to have an enjoyable evening.
A huge cast of young people to manage in a fairly limited space, but there seemed to be lots for everyone to do and plenty of opportunity for the whole cast to be involved in scenes together. The only downside was that sometimes it took a while to get everyone on and off the stage which slowed the pace a little, but I suspect this is a limitation of the venue; just trying to continue the action into the wings would have helped this a little.
It would be impossible to talk about all the cast members in detail with such a large group of principals but I will try to highlight those who stood out. Not to say that those mentioned didn’t play a part in making the show the success it was– the whole cast handled the complexity of the story with ease.
The Mechanicals were the highlight of the show for me. They all did a great job, with lots of energy and of course comedy! Matt Scott gave us a confident performance as Bottom, great comic timing and a clear voice. Abbie Gansbuehler oozed character as Tom Snout, making every moment of her time on stage. Max Eagle, Amy Smethurst, Esther Hemmings and James Birchmore all worked really well as a team and all shone; and I loved their song.
Ore Kane gave us a strong Theseus, with a clear controlled voice and good presence on the stage. Clearly Charlotte Podd, Sicily Riordan, Aaron Bell and Jack Funnell had lovely voices and all brought individual characteristics to their characters.
Puck, played by Rose Gowen, was mysterious and mischievous. Rose moved around the stage well, and her voice had a great quality and she worked well with everyone she interacted with.
Sound and lighting were obviously a little limited. There were times when I struggled to hear the voices over the band, or with some cast members mic’d and others not, it sounded a little unbalanced. Unfortunately, the strobe lighting used in Running became incredibly uncomfortable, and went on for too long. This detracted from the good work that the cast were doing, although I understand the effect you were trying to create. The costumes were all suitable for the roles, and the fairies all looked very cute!
The choreography was nice and simple and mostly effective, although I feel that at times the cast could have achieved more. The challenge might have encouraged them to reach more of a performance quality. There were times when I felt certain members of the cast were not totally comfortable or confident with what they were doing, so perhaps a tiny bit more time spent on those moments might have helped to encourage them further; but of course, there is always more that could be done if there was no time limit!
Overall the cast did a great job, although there was a definite lack of smiling from them! I hope they did enjoy being part of the show. I really enjoyed watching it and look forward to the next one, and seeing how this group of young people develop.