BBC's new MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
I thoroughly enjoyed the new production of Midsummer Night's Dream as part of the BBC's season of celebration of Shakespeare last night. The casting was particularly impressive I thought and Matt Lucas as Bottom was exceptional as was the incandescent Maxine Peak. Now I must admit to being biased in all sorts of ways about these two but I have always enjoyed all of Matt's comedy work and here he excelled, albeit in a comic role but who knew he was capable of great acting and Maxine Peak of whom I have long been a fan and have enjoyed again I think everything she has done from 'dinnerladies' where I discovered her first with Victoria Wood's startling brave and genius casting to her starring role in 'Silk' and other more serious roles (Myra Hindley anyone?!) Here she was positively ribald and naughty as only Queen Titania should be!
Also it seem to me she is a shining example of the exception being the rule of that age old adage regarding men and women that 'men improve with age' as she is getting more and more beautiful with age! (I guess I'll get into trouble for that one but it is true IMHO)
|the incandescent Maxine Peak|
I wasn't sure about the casting role of Oberon with Nonso Anozie as that is not how I envisaged the King of the Faeries and no it is not to do with the colour of his skin. Neither was I sure about the use of Jon Hannah who I thought wasted here as a heavy handed Theseus and the Hannibal Lecter quote for Hippolyte (Eleanor Matsuura) was heavy to the point of clankingly bad and Eleanor cruelly underused.
'Puck' however was a delight played with mischievous glee by Hiran Abeysekera who I thought I had seen before, he has one of those faces it seems and was simply perfection but it was I understand his debut on TV and he was astonishingly good. Mention should also go to the make-up and costume, the fairy folk being especially well done and Peaseblossom, Mustardseed,
|Mustardseed played by Marlene Madenge|
There is something to say about a certain hullabaloo prior to it's broadcast and the Telegraph and the Mirror published some outrage that there was to be a 'gay' kiss and there has been a mention about the end where Theseus is killed and there is a dance sequence in which Queen Titania and Hypolita kiss. There is also a scene where two of the male characters kiss after lining up together in the dance but there seems to have been little mention of that. Frankly this is all beneath us to even comment on but as it caused such hullabaloo I will state for the record that it did not bother me one jot and was rather emotionally satisfying and brought some resolution to the end but as the characters are fantasy figures their 'gayness' did not occur to me at all. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable end to my evening and I would watch it all over again and look forward to doing so.
|Now we can all say we have seen Matt Lucas' Bottom! [well someone had to say it!]|