Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, Tobacco Factory Theatres

Review: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, Tobacco Factory Theatres

4 stars

It's fitting that the once industrial space of the Tobacco Factory is now the dystopian setting for the latest outing of the Factory Company - a gender-bending A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Set in the near future, director Mike Tweddle has taken several risks with this familiar story and breathed new life into what can otherwise be a predictable turn of events. It comes at the cost of purity of the verse, but that's a price worth paying for an accessible, funny and delightfully acted version.

Lysander becomes Lysanda and, in one fell swoop, Tweddle instantly sparks a modern conflict in this old tale. Egeus now seems entirely out of touch, wanting his daughter to marry the man he has chosen when his daughter's heart belongs to Lysanda. That true love should triumph over outdated prejudice seems a fitting concept, and one the Bard himself would surely be proud of.

Perhaps the change from Helena to Helenus is a little less clear why, but a sharp performance from Joseph Tweedale pulls it through with conviction. In fact, the quartet of lovers are equally delightful. Dan Wheeler and Evlyne Oyedokun especially prove to have a deft comic touch as the confusion unfolds.

As funny as the section is, it's The Mechanicals and their staging of Pyramus and Thisbe that provide the standout moments. Heather Williams is, frankly, perfectly cast as Bottom. She has the warmth needed to make Bottom likeable but without losing any of his pompousness and self-confidence to perform every part in the play. The whole gang have a wonderful air of am-dram about them.

With such strong work elsewhere, the role of the Fairies does seem somewhat sidelined. They feel more functional than magical and Kim Heron's Puck lacks a little mischievousness here and there.

There are plenty of quirky touches in designer Anna Reid's unfussy set that helps focus us on the wild and, at times, unpredictable nature in the woods.

Some Shakespeare purists may bemoan some of the cuts and verse delivery, but given the regularity with which A Midsummer Night's Dream is performed, they can have their stuffy, straight versions whenever they like. I'll take this one every day of the week.

A Midsummer Night's Dream at Tobacco Factory Theatres until 6 April

Photo Credit: Mark Dawson

TREASON THE MUSICAL Takes Autumn Tour to Edinburgh, Sheffield and London Photo
This Autumn will see the highly anticipated British musical premiere its first full production in select theatres across the UK. Kicking off with a bang on 25 October at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Treason will continue to Sheffield Lyceum Theatre on 31 October and finally explode into London's Alexandra Palace from 08 – 18 November.

Photos: Inside Press Night For THE WAY OLD FRIENDS DO at the Park Theatre Photo
Check out all new photos from press night of The Way Old Friends Do at the Park Theatre!

Extra London Show At Hammersmith Apollo Announced For Phil Wangs Biggest Ever Internationa Photo
Hot on the heels of announcing a major Autumn nationwide extension for his biggest ever international tour, Phil Wang (That's My Time with David Letterman, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Live At The Apollo) announces an extra London show at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on the 23rd February 2024.

Special Prices: All Tickets £18 for YIPPEE KI YAY at Wiltons Music Hall Photo
Acclaimed retelling of classic film Die Hard from Richard Marsh - Fringe First-winner, London poetry slam champion, BBC Audio Drama Best Scripted Comedy Drama award-winner and New York cop (one of these is untrue). This joyfully funny show heads out on tour following rave reviews for its premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe, which also won it a London transfer.

From This Author - Tim Wright

BWW Review: LES MISERABLES, Bristol HippodromeBWW Review: LES MISERABLES, Bristol Hippodrome
July 16, 2022

It’s tough to keep a musical juggernaut like Les Misérables going. It’s even tougher to keep it feeling fresh, night after night for well over 35 years. Where others have faltered, Les Misérables has kept marching on to its own revolutionary drum beat. 

BWW Review: THE RED LION, Bristol Old VicBWW Review: THE RED LION, Bristol Old Vic
February 9, 2022

Football is not a subject often tackled in the theatre. The Red Lion though is set a world away from the riches of the professional game. Here we find the kit man, the manager and a talented, young prospect – all in the changing room of the semi-pro non-league game.

BWW Review: DR SEMMELWEIS, Bristol Old VicBWW Review: DR SEMMELWEIS, Bristol Old Vic
January 27, 2022

'Doctors must not carry their ghosts,' advises Johann Klein to his impatient assistant Dr Ignaz Semmelweis, a 19th-century obstetrics doctor. But Semmelweis is troubled: he feels it is only by carrying those ghosts that progress can be made.