The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, are of imagination all compact.
What better way to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death than the surreal folly of A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
The Queensland Ballet presents a wonderful dream-like production of artistic beauty and merry absurdity in this piece choreographed by Liam Scarlett. Titania, Queen of the Fairies, (Yanela Pinera) takes us into a realm of magic and the supernatural. Pinera dances brilliantly. She is a Guest International Principal with the Queensland Ballet, having previously been with the Ballet Nacional de Cuba.
In a forest clearing, under a moonlit sky, Titania quarrels with Oberon, King of the Fairies (Camilo Ramos) over a Changeling Boy (Finn McCarthy) found sleeping in the woods. Titania takes the child into her care, much to the chagrin of Oberon. This provides the spur for Oberon to cause trouble. He summons his apprentice Puck (David Power) and sends him to search for a magical flower. When sprinkled into the eyelids of a person sleeping, this magic flower causes the sleeper to fall in love with the first creature he or she sees upon awakening.
The role of Puck is a favourite with the audience. David Power delights with his athletic mischief, provoking confusion and mayhem at every turn as he ‘puts a girdle round about the earth in 40 minutes’.
The luckiest man of all (for a while) is the rustic Bottom the Weaver (Vito Bernasconi), seemingly unattractive and transformed by Puck into a donkey. Bottom has however the good fortune to be the first person seen by the Queen of the Fairies, Titania, upon her awaking after a good dose of the magic flower nectar. Bottom cannot believe his luck. Titania falls in love with Bottom despite his external appearance as a donkey. As Shakespeare wryly observed, ‘the course of true love never did run smooth’.
Act II takes us happily to an unravelling of all the confusions with comic contrast between the elegant fairies and the mechanical rustics. Puck gets in and out of trouble. Oberon seethes but is finally calmed. Poor old Bottom returns to a plebeian life far from the Fairy Queen. The beautiful Titania reconciles with Oberon and returns the Changeling Boy to where they found him, and to his own midsummer night’s dream.
I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was. ― William Shakespeare.
Choreographer: Liam Scarlett
Composer: Felix Mendelssohn
Arrangement and additional orchestration: Nigel Gaynor
Costume and set designer Tracy Grant Lord
Lighting designer Kendall Smith
Stager: Gillian Whittingham
Queensland Symphony Orchestra (but recorded music on night of performance reviewed).