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BWW Review: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM at Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

Presented by The Australian Shakespeare Company

BWW Review: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM at Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

The Australian Shakespeare Company's fantastic summer season is back, with a COVID-19 safe performance of the beloved Shakespearean comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. Once again Melbournians are able to enjoy the magic of live performance surrounded by nature, friends, a bottle of wine and a cheeseboard. Of course, this is after being temperature checked and meeting strict COVID-19 criteria for everyone's safety and wellbeing. A Midsummer Night's Dream is widely regarded as one of Shakespeare most well-known and popular comedies, exploring love in both the mortal and magical realms and what can go wrong when the two intertwine.

Anna Burgess's natural stage presence and sincerity as Helena was strong. Richard Piper was excellent and hysterical as Nick Bottom and his character's absurd dramatic death in the Mechanical's performance of Pyramus and Thisbe was the highlight of the evening. While Glenn Elston's scene direction for the Mechanicals was strong, the overall production did seem a little dated and the decision to incorporate modern English, perhaps in an attempt to help quicken the show's pace, was jarring and unnecessary.

Karla Erenbot and Kaspa Elston's costume design did appear 'lost in translation', with the exception of Helena, Oberon and Puck's costumes. Joshua Sunderland's minimal set design of white Athenian pillars scattered throughout the amphitheatre stage successfully allowed the natural surroundings of the Royal Botanic Gardens to magically set the scene as the sun descended and the moon rose. Thomas Roach and Adam Cartwright's lighting design helped transport the audience between the mortal and magical realms and their incorporation of lighting onto the natural surroundings of The Royal Botanic Gardens was stunning. Paul Norton's music also did a great job in helping to reference the characters Greek heritage but with a slightly modern twist.

The Australian Shakespeare Company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream has been so popular it is now sold out for the rest of the season. You can however still enjoy outdoor theatre in their upcoming productions of Macbeth. To really indulge make sure to get the A Reserve 'VIP' Package, which includes premium reserved seating on complimentary low-rise chairs, a pre-show complimentary red, white, or sparkling wine and complimentary tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Regardless of which ticket you purchase social distancing requirements mean that all audience members will enjoy a bit more space and privacy than usual - A welcome surprise for all!

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From This Author Josh Stent