Wander through the forest into the Shakespearean world where romance is confused with mistaken identities and, in the case of Nick Bottom, a love affair is caused by mischievous fairies. Last week, the Art Gallery hosted the premier of The Raw Shakespeare Project’s new show, Bottom’s Dream—a cheeky vignette from A Midsummer Night’s Dream told through the eyes of Athenian craftsman, Nick Bottom.
Directed by Russell Slater, the show’s premier comprised of a four-person cast and enough wisecrack comedy that kept us spellbound for the entire performance. Passionate and cheeky, this 20-minute show was the perfect teaser to what The Raw Shakespeare Project has to come in their extended 90-minute, twenty-person show 'Shakespeare's Ménage a Trois' at next year’s Fringe Festival.
The show opened in the crux of Oberon and Titania’s feud, whereby Bottom had been wretchedly transfigured into an ass at the expense of Titania’s humiliation. Much like the original play, Nick Bottom (played by Damien White) was presented as guileless and kind, which ultimately allowed him to become the perfect pawn for Puck’s cupid-like shenanigans. Alternating between Puck and Quince, the bright-eyed Leah Anderson amusingly portrayed the story’s naughty jester and disregarded craftsman alike. Meanwhile, King Oberon was played by Mark Drury and his fairy Queen played by Isabella Shaw. At odds, the pair presented spite and overindulgence respectively, which intermittently changed to a comical high-pitched voice and captivating dry humour when the former changed to Francis Flute and the latter to Tom Snout.
Minimal props were present within the play and were typically wearable garments used to enhance the simple jeans-and-shirt attire of the cast. This minimalist approach to costume design alongside a scarce stage layout invited the audience to reflect on the mere components of physical theatre and poetic anecdotes to appreciate a modern take on the Shakespearean story.
Although their show may not be as ornate as other versions of the play, the brilliance and wit of this minimalist production makes us excited to see what The Raw Shakespeare Project has to offer at the Fringe Festival next year.
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Header of A Midsummer Night's Dream TV Movie (2016) via The Telegraph.