Creation Theatre Company - A Midsummer Night's Dream
23rd June to 30th July 2016.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
In and out of this world
Creation's Dream takes the audience on a mystery tour around Oxford
A Midsummer Night's Dream, at various locations in Oxford, until Saturday, July 30
Zoe Seaton, whose productions of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in Magdalen College School Gardens in 2000 and 2002 and Headington Hill Park in 2005 were memorably site-specific, has returned to Creation Theatre Company and the play with a revelatory and innovative idea. It's an immersive happening, around Oxford.
At 7.30pm, I meet a group of theatregoers outside the Jam Factory. We are Theseus' first cousins, invitees to a wedding. Other groups meet elsewhere. Someone comes out of the venue and leaves an attaché case with us containing flowers we need to wear for identification purposes and a message telling us to visit a building nearby with a red door. We do so, and enter a boardroom where Egeus (Giles Stoakley) sells us his vision for his election as mayor: the removal of the threat of Fairies. He wants our sympathy because his child is marrying the wrong person. Would we help? We are guided across the road where we encounter a guitar-playing Puck (Sam Davies) and the plot thickens.
In the Yellow Submarine café, a monitor with four flickering CCTV cameras plays out early scenes with Oberon and Titania. We watch, making notes and then by the canal, a panicked young lover, Demetrius (Rob Hadden) asks us to hide him from a tousle-haired blonde, Helena (Caroline Moroney). We do. We are bundled into a van by Flute, in a car park watched by curious Chinese tourists, and listen to headphones in a foyer overseen by an enemy receptionist. We are rehearsed by the Quincessential Players (Shelley Atkinson as Quince, Simon Yadoo as Bottom) coached to move around like astronauts and go 'beep'.
We track fairy footsteps down the appropriately named Woodins Way and receive messages by text. Filmed sequences are visible through holes in a shed. All parties gather in a 12th- century church graveyard for the lovers' fight and subsequent wedding scene in the church, projections of fairies under the organ. The hilarious Pyramus and Thisbe scene is played out in a nearby garden, with Paul Mclnnerny's magic tricks and Matt Eaton's sound design perfectly in keeping with the story.
Production of the year.