Review Roundup: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Starring Sheridan Smith and David Walliams
Let's see what the critics had to say:
Theo Bosanquet of whatsonstage.com writes: Neither of the stars disappoint, but it's Grandage's injection of pace and vigour into a play that often gets bogged down in pretentious interpretations of its mysticism that proves the evening's trump card.... Often I find Dream a frustrating affair, proving neither as funny nor profound as it's capable of being. But Grandage gets the balance right, making it both genuinely entertaining and emotionally detailed.... After a rather prosaic opening scene the evening soon warms up with the appearance of the Mechanicals, led by Walliams' show-stealing Bottom. Clad in pink shirt and braces, he's a camp, lisping am-dram diva, who could have stepped straight out of Little Britain.
Henry Hitchings of the Evening Standard says: Amid a haze of spliff smoke and Sixties music, this interpretation of Shakespeare's comedy invokes the spirit of Burning Man, the hedonistic festival that takes place every August in Nevada's Black Rock Desert. Most of the characters seem to be wildly garbed hippies or chiselled dreamboats: some could have walked straight off the set of the musical Hair, while others cavort in crisp white underpants.
Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph writes: It is not only the funniest of Shakespeare's plays, it also the most original, magically interweaving four worlds: the aristocrats in Athens; the rude mechanicals preparing their play; the young lovers; and the fairy kingdom of the warring Titania and Oberon. It is one of the few works in the canon in which the plot seems to have sprung entirely from Shakespeare's own imagination rather than being at least partly based on other sources.
Paul Taylor of the Independent says: Looking like a slightly sanitised group audition for Hair, the sprites haunt this place, creating a hedonistic, drug-fuelled counter-culture with their festival-of-love-style tribal dancing (there are sudden fleeting snatches of the Mamas and the Papas and Simon and Garfunkel). It's certainly a heady alternative to the formality of Athens evoked by tall, elegantly panelled screens in the first act.... Sporting a school-of-Janis-Joplin bedraggled mane, Sheridan Smith's excellent Titania is a 60s wild child, evincing a splendidly fiery spirit in her dispute over the page boy with Padraic Delaney's Irish-accented, insufficiently imposing Oberon and in her comic element when besotted by Bottom in donkey mode.
Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail says: This is a fine Dream. Mr Walliams co-stars with the constantly, impertinently, humorously sexy Sheridan Smith, whose Titania falls in love with Bottom when he is a donkey. Miss Smith has a set of eyebrows that seem constantly a-quiver, as though she has just been shown something the size of a prize marrow.At this point Mr Walliams is wearing a pair of equine teeth which make him resemble the fictitious Australian cultural attaché, Sir Les Patterson.