Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Set off the inner circle of my favourite of London's parks the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre has become somewhat of an institution, with this year marking its 80th season. But still I had never been...

And so, last week, as a treat from Tommy, he and I made our way through the rose gardens, champagne in hand, ready to lose ourselves in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

And lose ourselves we did - walking into the auditorium, we were confronted not by a fairy lit woodland, but more of a construction site, burly builders and all. Matthew Dunster's take on the romance resembling more an episode of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding than a Shakespeare classic.

But it worked. Surprisingly well. Twists to the relationships provided a new perspective - with Theseus portrayed as a wife-bashing lout and Titania a softer and more vulnerable (sewer)fairy Queen to her (sewer)fairy King Oberon. 

And it was funny. The climactic performance before the wedding party more of an operetta culminating in a dance routine to the likes of Beyoncé. The contrast of style and script strangely brilliant.

It was just very cleverly done, from the elaborate, gaudy wedding dresses to the effective yet simple set design. Despite both Tommy and I being zonked, we were gripped from beginning to end.

The theatre is open until early September with A Midsummer Night's Dream running 'til then. Definitely worth a trip.

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