Audience Enchanted by a Sprite and a Bottom!

A Midsummer’s Night Dream

Pantaloons Theatre Company

Walker Theatre

7/8/9*/September/2017 ( Incl. *Matinee 2.30)

Critically acclaimed, Ingenious and rollicking are just some of the superlatives used to describe the Pantaloons. But do they go far enough? This powerful Pocket Sized theatre packs a punch like no other.

If you can imagine the brief, take a classic Shakespearean play that is over 500 years old and into it breathe new life. You will be competing with some of the best in the world that have gone before. But you are to prove that this ancient piece of text once the dust is blown away, is as fresh modern and as funny as it always has been. Brief Fulfilled.

With energy and power this wonderfully funny bunch of people put new shine into a text that in this day of instant abbreviations and soundbites, can offer the finest ear a challenge. Not a bit of it. The dialogue flows and swiftly moves forward pleasingly smoothly, with music weaving around the words like water over pebbles. It is all beautifully crafted together.

From a designers perspective the action, whilst reliant on props and iconography, is all in the open space. The front of a gypsy caravan is centre stage. Doubling up as the props store and further impressing the idea of itinerant players and  helping to weave the magic. The rest of the stage is bare. However the confines of the fourth wall is no derterrent to this crazy bunch who are just as much at home in and and amongst the ausience as they are on the stage. Great and effective use of space and the audience feels so included in the whole thing.

The use of music is  delightfully crucial, acoustic  guitars, mandolins, banjo,and with a wealth of other instruments flanked both stage right and stage left. Oh, and each player just so happened to be wonderfully adept with them. The music gives depth, anticipation and atmosphere. There is no magical storm stormier than the one conjured up, so minimal, so clever and the audience loved it.

Stamina and energy drive this performance and  it’s not a show for an old man that’s for sure, as this one grew exhausted simply following this pacey spectacle. When’s the next gag?  When’s the next trick? When’s the next beautiful piece of poetry?  So many questions but never; When is this over? This is such a brilliant way to watch the Bard. The respect the company have for the text is as impressive as the director’s complete understanding and interpretation.

Hilariously we learned that Lucy was in the engineer’s box lighting the show and feeding in technical cues. Well tonight must have been Lucy’s night to shine. Such clever lighting: so atmospheric and discreet.

This is a tremendous show, it is a great introduction to Shakespeare for those who have not felt the lure of the Bard draw them as yet. And those who have drunk from that cup before, well they can take even more draughts!  Simply brilliant.

This Is a Five Star Review.

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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