The Hills Youth Theatre has made a good fist of this well-loved Shakespearean comedy. Importantly, Director Hayley Horton ensured that the cast understood and portrayed the play’s wit and humour, both orally and physically.
The programme noted that for many of the cast this was their first Shakespearean performance. Given that, this was a good choice for the company. The cast, particularly the leads, handled the language with confidence and clear articulation.
The four young lovers were convincing. Nikhita Lanyon was sincere and demure as Hermia and Zac Moody was a confident and cocky Demetrius. Lucie Zodrow-Martin showed a good dramatic understanding and range as Helena, and James Grosser gave a sure and entertaining performance as Lysander. His mis-informed, insulting rant against Hermia was truly funny.
Lazuli Chittleborough was a suitably quirky and engaging Puck. She had delightful vocal and physical animation and successfully drew the audience to her. Lizzie Zeuner was a commanding and authoritative Oberon, nicely contrasted by Aislin Mowbray’s calm, controlled and alluring Titania.
The Mechanicals, led by the lively Teliah Shepherdson as Bottom, entertained us with their knock-about physicality. Their high point, as it should be, was their play-within-the-play at the end. It was a fitting climax, and very funny.
The other ensemble members were well-rehearsed and gave sensitive support to the leads. They also provided essential context to the play, whether the action was in Athens or the enchanted forest. The fairies’ dance and song, composed by cast member Sophie Zodrow, set the mood perfectly.
The set was plain and functional, providing varied levels for the performers. Yolanda Tree’s costumes were stylish and well-suited to the era in which the play was set.
There was no amplification for the cast, and in general that was a good thing. It gave opportunity for voice projection, an art sometimes overlooked. However, we occasionally missed a word or line from those with lighter voices. The pace of the play picked up as the story unfolded, after the first half’s lengthy development and exposition. The final Act’s revelations and plot twists were well realised and presented.
In all this was a worthy and entertaining production.A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Hills Youth Theatre
Stirling Community Theatre