Editor’s Note: Go see this wonderful show. It’s outstanding. And to all of you who turned down my offer of a free ticket, you missed out. It’s on for the rest of the week at the Barbican. I can’t add anything to what Colin Bartlett has to say below, in an unsolicited review from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. And like him, I have nothing to do with the production or with the Barbican. An independent, unprompted rave review. Enough said. Just go see it. It’s a great night out.
In the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year I saw a wonderful (and wonderfully funny) performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In fact, I saw it three times, and it will be on at the Barbican main theatre for a short run from Tuesday 27 June to Saturday 1 July. (I’ll be going again, probably twice.)
- A (possible) problem: it’s almost entirely in Korean.
- Less of a problem: there will be surtitles, and there are about three sentences in English.
- No problem: you don’t need the surtitles anyway.
A quote from a friend who I stay with in Edinburgh, and who – after some gentle (but quite persistent) persuasion from me – came with me to the second time I saw it: “I did to my surprise enjoy Midsummer Night’s Dream very much.”
There weren’t any surtitles in Edinburgh, and as long as people roughly knew the plot (and had read the short programme note before hand to understand the minor changes to the story) the performance was such strong physical theatre that understanding the spoken language was almost irrelevant – you could see and hear the emotion. Neither I nor my friend understand Korean. (But I wish did, because I suspect it would then be an even better experience.)
It’s probably the best production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream I’ve ever seen, and the (mock) fight scene between Hermia and Helena is very very very funny: the production would be worth seeing just for that. The Barbican Centre description is accurate: I was delighted and captivated.
(Disclaimer – I have absolutely no connection of any kind with the production whatsoever, it’s just very very good, and deserves to be successful. It might not need my enthusiasm, as most performances seem to be fairly fully booked. That may be because it looks as though they are only selling stalls seats, so if there is enough demand, maybe they’ll “open” the circle.)