Fancy a Puck? [by James Wenley]
At the end of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, hobgoblin Puck famously excuses all that has gone before as a “weak and idle theme, no more yielding but a dream”. If so, it was a fantastic and crazy dream that the audience collectively dreamed in the theatre. While Puck undersells the thematic depths of the play, Auckland Theatre’s Company’s fast and furious streamlined show (no interval!) emphasises the fun and farce of love gone very, very wrong.
Midsummer Night’s Dream, though taking inspiration from several sources, is credited as being Shakespeare’s only original plot. It’s one of his most popular too – a comic plot that sees a love quadrangle of miss-matched Athenian youths Hermia, Helena, Lysander and Demetrius enter the woods, which also contains a group of amateur actors rehearsing a play for the wedding of Duke Theseus (Peter Daube) to his exotic bride Hippolyta (Goretti Chadwick), as well as being the home of mischievous fairies, reigned over by feuding lovers King Oberon (Xavier Horan) and Queen Titania (Alison Bruce).
I wish my own dreams looked like this. An almost unbearably bright red raked stage looks out at us, a fittingly unbalanced playing space which at various times the actors climb, slide and leap off. No subtly here then – the red of fervent passion and desire dominates. The gloriously styled black and white fashions of the four lovers – including Brooke Williams’ Hermia school girl burlesque chic topped with an upside-down cupcake tutu, and Josh McKenzie’s wrapped in a foppishly large bow tie and ankle high socks, take a bow designer Nic Smillie – gets considerably skimpier the longer the play goes on. Goretti Chadwick’s Hippolyta, going against received interpretation, is rather into her Theseus. And there are enough bare-chested men to rival the wolf pack of the Twilight films.
Perfectly Pitched Pacific Panto [by Sharu Delilkan]
The theatre was electrically charged as we scrambled to find our seats. In fact my mate Liz and I ended up sitting separately because it was so full. Not to mention the fact that they added almost 6 new chairs stage left to accommodate the stragglers. Seeing the theatre packed to the gunnels was a great sight to behold, especially since the show has been running for more than a week.
Looking at the stage it was equally electric painted in a multitude of vivid fluorescent colours, complemented by the chorus’ multi-coloured t-shirts. And when the MC said “sit back and enjoy the show and laugh your bum bums off” you knew you were in for the ride of your life.
Sinarella, yet another feather in the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts’ (PIPA) cap as a joint production with Auckland Theatre Company, follows the sell-out season of Polly Hood in Mumuland.