The Dreaming

Date 4th August 2017
Society Viva Theatre Company
Venue Hayward Theatre Kings Ely
Type of Production Musical
Director Jeremy James Taylor
Musical Director Alexander Goodwin and Richard Hayward
Choreographer Jessica Clifford and Chris Cuming


Author: Julie Petrucci

It is rare to have the privilege to see a new production created especially for a company but that is just what happened with “The Dreaming” performed in the fine Hayward Theatre, King’s Ely prior to moving on to the Edinburgh Festival..  

“The Dreaming” was originally commissioned by the National Youth Music Theatre.  With music by Howard Goodall, book and lyrics by Charles Hart it is based on Shakespeare’s “Dream” and follows that story’s theme.

Directed by Jeremy James Taylor, Produced by Dan Schumann and Nick Huntingdon, Choreographed by Jessica Clifford and Chris Cuming with Musical Direction by Alexander Goodwin and Richard Hayward these names alone are evidence of the quality of the leading production team.  

This quality was carried through the production.  Costumes and make-up were absolutely superb. The excellent lighting design enhanced the clever set design.  The sunrise particularly was well done.  Sound too was almost perfect and the six-piece orchestra did more than full justice to Howard Goodall’s music.

Ninety percent of the thirty plus cast were under twenty-one.  The Woodlanders (boys and girls) were amazing.  Their movement around the stage was nimble and the execution of the choreography impressive. All the Woodlanders’ songs were beautifully and impressively sung. 

Playing Jack, a blacksmith’s boy, in the performance I saw was Corbin Abassi.  A very confident and agile performance from this young actor who has a fine voice.  Jordan Thorpe made a very commanding Angel, a good strong performance as required by the role. Beautifully sure-footed as he made good use of the various levels.  Eloise George made a wonderfully sylph-like Sylvia possessed of the most beautiful voice.

The Villagers (Ben Clark, David Tickner, Peter Crussell, Freddie Bowles, Pierre Taffara Cox and Steven Beach) were the comedy element - mirroring Shakespeare’s Mechanicals, with their rehearsal and performance of George and the Dragon. They certainly got every ounce of available humour out of it.

Honours though must go to the four lovers, Joseph Beach (Alexander), Daniel Lane (David Swan) Riley Williames (Charlotte Matthews) and Zara Minns (Jennifer Farthing).  Four excellent performances.  The sequence “Midsummer Madness” was absolutely breathtaking.  This is something which will long stick in the memory.

This production was of the finest quality.  The amount of work and commitment involved by all concerned was obvious.  I know that the show has already received a pre-Edinburgh Festival
5-star review.  Well deserved in my opinion.  “The Dreaming” is sure to take Edinburgh by storm.

Congratulations on a super production.  It’s a 5* from me too