Review by Lucy Eyre
MULTI-CULTURAL HARMONY NOT JUST A ‘DREAM’ –
Dr Miles Gregory, Artistic Director of the Pop-up Globe Theatre Company, and director of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream has created a production that seems to epitomise New Zealand’s ethos for European and Māori cultures to coexist and harmonise. While the production underpins this ethos, it still manages to not take itself too seriously.
The comedic elements, inspired by Shakespeare’s characters and language are brought to the fore with hilarious results. Hermia and Lysander decide to elope when her father, Egeus, insists that she marry Demetrius, who is indeed in love with her. However, Helena loves Demetrius, so when he decides to follow Hermia into the forest, Helena follows hoping that Demetrius will change his mind.
Rebecca Rogers gives a very strong performance as the privileged, no nonsense Hermia, while Ruby Hansen, as Helena, has fun expressing the different ways she is obedient and bounces back from Demetrius’ rejections. Simon Rodda as Demetrius and Harry Bradley as Lysander both deliver handsomely measured performances. When the couples enter the forest, they are unaware of the world of magic and mystery that awaits.
Having love troubles of his own, Oberon, king of the fairies, employs the puck, Robin Goodfellow (Puck) to help him reconcile with his queen Titania by finding a plant whose juice holds love-at-first-sight properties. The chaos that ensues is hysterical and heart-warming, but all is resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. The scenes between Puck and Oberon, played by Māori actors Eds Eramiha and Anatonio Te Maioha respectively, bring both humour and composure to these challenging characters in outstanding performances. Likewise, Renaye Tamati as Titania demonstrates a strong stage presence and a beautifully nuanced performance. It was a pleasure and a highlight of the show to hear Shakespeare’s words spoken in the Māori language.
Special mention also to the actors playing the Mechanicals: a group of tradies who have aspirations to present a play to Theseus. The rehearsal and performance scenes of the play ‘The Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe’ are pure entertainment. Johnny Light as Flute, Jonathan Martin as Snout, Sophie Wright as Snug, Travis Graham as Quince and Sheena Irving as Starveling all delight in their roles, however, Peter Hambleton’s Bottom quite rightly steals the limelight. Hambleton’s characterisation and comic timing are impeccable.
Pop-up Globe is wowing and mesmerising audiences with the four shows on offer. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to experience Pop-up Globe. Twelfth Night, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Measure for Measure make up the repertoire for this limited season until 24th November 2019.
Tickets from $10 to $160. Available at https://www.ticketmaster.com.au/popupglobe
Average running time for each play is 2 hours 30 minutes (including a 15 minute interval).