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There’s no getting away from it – this is an absolutely filthy production. By the end of the evening the four young Athenian lovers are absolutely caked in mud – with no suggestion of changing out of their mucky clothes to watch the final entertainment laid on to celebrate their nuptials.

Johannes Schutz’s design fills the stage with churned up clods of the stuff – the natural world is in turmoil. Anastasia Hille’s unhappy Hippolyta picks her way through the barren mire in heels – shedding them and her severe black trouser suit to become a love-struck Titania whose fairy bower is nothing but a shallow dent in the damp ground. The Mechanicals clump around in wellies, and the traditionally mercurial Puck (Lloyd Hutchison) is here a lumpen Irish yokel, ploddingly reluctant to carry out the instructions issued by Michael Gould’s severe, bare-chested Oberon.

There is nothing magical about Joe Hill-Gibbins’ earthy, modern dress production – except, intermittently, the singing of Melanie Pappenheim’s eerily sweet-voiced, solitary Fairy, dressed (like her king and queen) in black.  This is a tribal, earthy production, in which Leo Bill’s Bottom, relieved of his ass’s ears made from stuffed tights (think Sarah Lucas’s soft, lumpy sculptures) is reduced to desperately crawling round and round the mirrored set on all fours.

Jemima Rooper’s Hermia forcefully rebuffs the rather too insistent attempts of John Dagleish’s Lysander to sleep beside her, whist Anna Madeley’s neglected Helena is determined in her pursuit of Oliver Alvin-Wilson’s Demetrius (who suffers more than his fair share of back-breaking falls).

Played without an interval, this darkly original, two hour long production is, intentionally, more nightmare than dream – especially, perhaps, for the wardrobe department which must feel, nightly, as though the cast has just returned from Glastonbury with piles of dirty laundry.

Young Vic, The Cut, SE1 8LZ

0207 922 2922

Tube: Southwark / Waterloo

Until 1st April 2017   

£10.00 - £36.00



Theatre Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream
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