Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Middle Temple Hall, London

A Midsummer Night’s Dream 

Middle Temple Hall 

Saturday 7th April 2012: The first thing you notice when you arrive at the venue is how beautiful and well-kept Middle Temple is. It is as though you have been transported back in time to 1573 and into the countryside. You forget that you are in the heart of legal London.

The doors open an hour early so you can spend some time looking around the building and gardens, which helps add to the atmosphere.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream consists of three plots working simultaneously; a couple who are in love but cannot marry as the girl’s father wants her to marry another and according to Athenian Law a girl must accept her father’s choice or face the consequences which could lead to death; the dispute between the King and Queen of the Fairies and the rehearsal and production of Pyramus and Thisbe.

‘The course of true love never did run smooth’. The quote taken from A Midsummer Night’s Dream is valid as a description of the performance at Middle Temple Hall. There are instances where you wonder if you have accidentally stumbled across a group of amateurs putting on a production for their local community, ironically not unlike the Pyramus and Thisbe play that Quince and his troupe perform for the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta.

Tony Austin as Oberon - photo by Mitzi de Margary
In the opening scene the actors interact with the audience, which normally would be fun but on this occasion you are left confused wondering if this is actually part of the show. Things do improve and the saving grace is in the form of Puck, played by Dylan Kennedy, who is funny, engaging and full of life; definitely one of the star performers of the night.

Ami Sayers is a talented performer but I was disappointed by her portrayal of Hermia. I was not convinced by her performance but she did bring about many laughs.

The Fairies throw in a surprise or two, all of which are pleasant to watch and definitely help make the show worthwhile. The star fairy for me was Christopher Rowland.

With The Mechanicals comes the majority of humour and in particular Chris David Storer deserves a special mention.

Tony Austin and Helen Evans, who play Theseus/Oberon and Hippolyta/Titania, respectively, are believable and adapt well between the two roles.

The Shakespearean comedy has been performed countless times and as a consequence expectations are probably higher than normal. The play, however, did live up to its comic values and the audience laughed throughout the performance.

I would recommend the play if you want a good laugh and a few surprises, plus the venue is an added bonus but if you want a more traditional Shakespearean performance then you may need to look elsewhere.

Review by Unsa Chaudri 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Middle Temple Hall
Middle Temple Lane
Box Office: 0844 8700 887

Friday 6 April - 
Saturday 14 April

Monday - Saturday 
at 8.00pm

 Saturday 7 & 14 April
at 3.00pm

Tickets: £15.00 / £25.00

Premium Seats: £35.00

Reduced Price Previews 
(Friday 6 April at 8.00pm
& Saturday 7 April at 3.00pm): 
All seats £15.00