Set in the 1980s, Time & Again’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is certainly an interesting take on the Shakespeare classic. Up until now this production had been staged outdoors in parks across the country, this seemed liked the first indoor production.
You can tell a lot of thought has gone into this production and interpretation from Directors Laura Crow and Jon Turner. Comparing the Rude Mechanicals to the striking miners of the 1980s is a really fascinating concept. Also, the costumes are just absolutely on point – I’m sure the local charity shops were raided but I think we had it all from ‘Frankie Says Relax’ to the iconic 1980s perm. You can see there is more than a nod to the new romantics’ movement taken for inspiration here.
However, I must admit one thing I was slightly confused about was basing it in a city called Athens. I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be set in Greece, but with references to Margaret Thatcher, I assumed it was based in the UK. But I could be mistaken on that.
As with most of Shakespeare’s plays there is a large cast and one you need to get your head around quickly. All cast members performed their roles well. However, for me Tim Cooper as Bottom and Samantha Vaughan as Oberon were the standout performers for me. Copper for his comedic timing and Vaughan for her sinisterness and commitment.
One thing I think that sadly let this production down a little bit was the blocking and potentially a lack of consideration for people who weren’t sat in the front row. As there was no raised stage, the actors were performing on the same level as the audience, it was difficult to see some parts from my seat in the 3rd row. Whenever any of the actors went to the ground, such as Hermia and Lysander going to sleep, I missed it all. So, I do feel Crow and Turner could have paid a little more attention to detail here.
With classic 80s songs weaved in throughout this is a great production with an interesting take on the original.
Unfortunately, this was the only showing of this production during the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, however I will be looking out for the name Time & Again in the future.
Reviewer: Brian Madden
Reviewed: 8th July 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★