Brisbane Immersive's The Midsummer Carnival is an intimate and joyous Shakespearean encounter
Brisbane Immersive's The Midsummer Carnival is a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which the play is told in three separate spaces simultaneously, which the audience can navigate at their leisure. It had a very Punchdrunk-esque vibe in which the audience had an intimate glance into three parallel worlds of the fairies, the lovers and the Mechanicals.
As soon as I entered the courtyard, I unknowingly found myself conversing with a couple who, like myself and my friend, were trying not to be choose as volunteers to participate in a death defying stunt. After having a conversation and a laugh about how they were avoiding the performers too, the girl dramatically (and out of the blue) had what I'd call a panic attack about her father in Shakespearean. And that's when the gears clicked. This was Hermia (Zoe Harlen) and Lysander (Ben Walton). We truly were immersed.
While I'm very aware that immersive shows aren't everyone's cup of tea, once I felt eased enough into the narrative flowing around me, it was so delightful to be able to jump between stories and to watch characters in the crowd. When Hermia asked me to look for a blonde man in a blue shirt, I made it my hearts mission to consecutively be her bodyguard, as well as finding that man and tell him to back the ***k off. I was so caught in the mystery, that everything else around me faded me away, which is a testimony to the voice of this work.
Kristian Santic's movement direction was very innovative and resulted in the intricacies of the characters being put on display for all to see. From a simple flicker of a hand to the twitching of an eyebrow; everything was purposeful in illustrating the psyche of their character. One of my favourite moments of my immersive experience was when played 'Moth the fairy' (Tahlia Downs) grabbed me by the hand, took me into a separate room and led me into the fairy circle, in which the she explained the universe of the fairies to me. It was such a lovely, intimate gesture and on hindsight, I feel very lucky that I was the chosen one, so to speak.
The Midsummer Carnival will recharge your spirits, test your knowledge of Shakespeare and most importantly, transport you to a world of colour, hope and laughter.
Rating: 4 Stars
A Midsummer Carnival | Presented by Brisbane Immersive | Performed at The Brisbane Powerhouse 24th January - 8th February