GALLERY: A ‘magical evening’ as Shakespearean classic brought to life at Soham
- Credit: Archant
A review of The Dream performed at Soham Village College
The Dream at Soham Village College
A review by Mike Rouse
MUSIC and dance sprinkled fairy dust all over the Soham Village College production of The Dream and created a magical evening.
New head of performing arts, Peter Hedge, adapted Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to produce a fresh and original show with a clear story line which was by turns comical and moving.
Steven Kenna and Dominic Wills’ music and memorably tuneful setting of the songs played by them on keyboards, created all the changing moods and Nikki Dyer’s imaginative choreography triumphantly filled the large space with ingenious dance and movement.
The wide curve of the Performing Arts Centre is a challenge to director and actor and Mikey Kowalczyk’s staging with white blocks and silver screens and moon against the black curtains was simple and effective and lent itself to some beautifully arranged tableaux.
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Nathan Brown as Theseus, Molly Gilroy as Hippolyta and Ruby Farrance as Egeus nicely set the drama in motion introducing the two pairs of lovers:
Hermia, a confident, beautifully-spoken performance by Emily Palmer, and Lysander, a spirited performance by Max Bovingdon, matched with Henry Braggins’ strong Demetrius and Chloe Baker’s appealing Helena. The interplay between the two couples, particularly in the second half was one of the many highlights.
The play within the play, with Peter Quince’s Theatre Company, gave the young cast scope for slapstick humour and some outrageous and funny playing to the audience. Naomi Porter, who beautifully sang an opening song, was a forceful Quince, and she needed to be with Max Palmer’s very confident Bottom, Oliver Manley’s slow-on-the-uptake Snug, Zara Minns’ lively Starveling, Jonty Freeman’s nervous Snout and the energetic Lawrence Whitworth as Flute revelling in his role.
While the mechanicals brought the broad humour to the play, it was the fairies who brought the enchantment. Oscar Mackay was a commanding Oberon possessed of a fine speaking and singing voice, while Beth Simpson as Titania squeezed every nuance and ounce of humour out of her vampish portrayal of Titania especially in the hilarious wooing of Bottom transformed by the ass’s head.
It is, of course, Puck who both causes problems with the young lovers and then resolves them, and with Rebecca Storey here was a Puck who was assured and clear in the delivery of her lines, nimble and charming in her movement, but always with a mischievous glint in her eye. Given a delightful setting of ‘On the Ground’ her beautiful solo song and dance over the sleeping lovers was utterly captivating.
The fairy dancers: Madeline Palmer, Mariana Carvahlo, Tilly Lewis, Summer Locke, Hannah Theobald, Anna Fernandez and Mollie Lyons were a mesmerising, graceful delight all evening and helped create the dreamlike nature of the play, ably supported by the whole ensemble whose movement and varied routines linked and defined the mood of the scenes.
This was a bold choice to follow seventeen years of David Tickner and Stephen Kenna’s big musicals at Soham, but one that paid off and demonstrated how dance and movement has developed to match the drama and song and combined to give appreciative audiences an enchanting production.