By William Shakespeare. Directed by Patricia Melluish.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most delightful and well known comedies. It is a play of such lightness and joy, romance and confusion, that even the most Bard-resistant audience members will be swept away by the tale of four lovers lost in an enchanted forest.
Production photos at bottom of page.
Some of the cast and crew (click on images to enlarge):
Details of the cast below:
Theseus Alec Raemers
Hippolyta Rachel Cormican
Egeus Tony Skeggs
Hermia Ruth Aylward
Helena Lauren Santana
Lysander Stephen Whalley
Demetrius Richard Stewart
Philostrate Janet Edden
Oberon John Heather
Titania Carolyn Taylor
Puck Ian-Paul Munday
1st Fairy – Rose Petal Janet Edden
2nd Fairy – Snowdrop Amy Burnell
Peaseblossom Sue Hicks
Cobweb Charlotte Haslegrave
Moth Christine Lever
Mustardseed Alice Foster
Forget Me Not Sandie Campbell
Pansy Myrna Delicatta
Quince Del Stone
Bottom Pieter Swinge
Flute Ryan Gray
Snout Bernard Harriss
Snug Jeremy Clarke
Starvelin Ian Evans
Did You Know? Two of the “The Dream’s” cast members appeared in Theatre 62’s first Shakespeare production, The Tempest, back in 1964: Carolyn Taylor and John Heather. Also pictured in the photo on the left: Maurice Uzzell, Jack Mortimer and Ray Bardell (click on images to enlarge).
So, what’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream all about? Well, it opens with two reluctant brides: Hippolyta, who is to marry the Duke of Athens after being conquered in war, and Hermia, whose father is trying to force her to marry Demetrius when she is in love with Lysander.
Hermia and Lysander flee Athens and escape to the nearby forest of Arden, not realising that they are being pursued by Demetrius and Hermia’s best friend Helena (who is in love with Demetrius). Following so far?
What none of the four lovers is aware of is that the forest is also home to fairy folk who have come together to celebrate Midsummer. The Fairy King and Queen are arguing bitterly, but the King sees Helena being spurned by Demetrius and decides to intervene by sending his servant, Puck to put Demetrius under a love spell. Needless to say this does not go according to plan and madness and mayhem ensue both in the human and fairy realm.
There is a laugh-until-you-cry subplot (featuring the famous ‘Bottom’) which centres around a group of local tradesmen getting together to put on a play to celebrate the Duke’s marriage. Their disastrous attempts at rehearsals, not helped by one of them being turned into an ass, are the source of much hilarity. Their performance for the Duke, which takes place right at the end of the play, when all romantic matters have been happily resolved, is excruciatingly, brilliantly awful!
Stage Director John Heather
Lighting Design David Hart
Sound Design Andrew Herbert
Stage Managers Liane Marchant, Heather London
Choreographer Hollie Campbell
Composer & Singer Serena Newman
Asst Stage Director Del Stone
Set Construction John Heather, Del Stone
Stage Crew Alice London, Nicola Wilkinson
Techncial Assts Ian James, Danny McIlhinery, James Quinn
Props Beryl Neal
Costumes Margaret Uzzell, Joan Martin, Valerie Polydorou, Diana Quinn
Make-up & hair Christine Lever, Alice London, Penny Vetterlein
Wigs Christine Lever
Prompt Mary-Jane Ransom, Janet Clarke
House Manager John Heather
Refreshments Lynne Craig, Audrey Knighton
Raffle Heather London
Box Office Margaret Uzzell
Poster/programme design Graham Copeland
Poster artwork Robert Hall
Programme Editor John Guttridge
Review by Peter Steptoe, Croydon Advertiser:
“Director Patricia Melluish wisely decided to have this delightful piece of Shakespeare nonsense performed in the round. Obviously adept at this type of theatre, she kept her cast moving when necessary and for those not speaking, standing in the four exits and not blocking the audience’s view.
Often when amateurs are performing the Bard I get the impression that they do not understand the words they speak, but this was not the case for the production by the Theatre 62 Company.
Alec Raemers as Theseus showed his authority and in the end compassion for the Mechanicals. I liked Quince’s (Del Stone) nervousness when presenting his play and Pieter Swinge as Bottom made the most of his overacting, while his donkey braying was realistic. Ryan Gray as Flute played Thisbe with the necessary high tones and was slim enough to have a feminine silhouette. Bernard Harris as Snout made an excellent wall and Jeremy Clarke as Snug was as ferocious as an elderly lion could be.
John Heather played Oberon in an ‘elderly actor laddy’ style which seemed to suit the part and Ian-Paul Munday was not the smallest Puck I have seen but was good with the magic dust.
Demetrius (Richard Stewart) and Lysander (Stephen Whalley) convinced as the rival lovers for the hands of Hermia (Ruth Aylward) and Helena (Lauren Santana). These four actors played extremely well together.
The fairies moved elegantly and Carolyn Taylor as Titania did her best to convince us of her love for the donkey.”
Limited selection of photos: