It’s a fraction of the length of the original – and much of the dialogue (and most of the gags) certainly weren’t penned by Shakespeare – but somehow Filter’s gloriously irreverent take on his tale of lovesick young Athenians, lost in the woods and played upon by fairies, contrives not only to remain true to the spirit of the original but also to tell the (admittedly flimsy) story.
Oberon, king of the fairies, is a short bespectacled chap (Jonathan Broadbent) in a Superman outfit who falls through the floor and drops from the ceiling. His ethereal Puck (Ferdy Roberts) is an all too earthbound stage manager, heavily tattooed and beer-swilling, who breaks through walls and roughly splatters the mismatched lovers with blue bath gel instead of fairy juice. Bottom doesn’t sport donkey ears, but clip clops along and grabs the mic to belt out snatches of raucous song.
Attempting to oversee it all is the minor character of Peter Quince – one of the usually tiresome Mechanicals, here an increasingly exasperated Irish comic (Ed Gaughan) attempting to direct the play within a play with little success.
It’s a lot of fun – and all quite mad – yet somehow manages to make sense on its way to an all-out food fight and, of course, a happy resolution.
Lyric Hammersmith, King Street, W6 0QL
Until 17th March
– Louise Kingsley