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A Midsummer's Sex Dream

PUBLISHED: 16:26 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 17:18 16 August 2010

SEXY?: Felix Catto as Bottom and Charlie Mafham as Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

SEXY?: Felix Catto as Bottom and Charlie Mafham as Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

DIRECTOR David Evans belief that A Midsummer Night s Dream is all about sex was borne out by some early breast fondling in

DIRECTOR David Evans' belief that A Midsummer Night's Dream is all about sex was borne out by some early breast fondling in Bromley Little Theatre's visually stunning production of Shakespeare's light comedy, writes Mark Campbell.

The fondler was Theseus (Patrick Brown) and the fondlee Hippolyta (Jane Buckland), Queen of the Amazons.

Other lustful lovers included Lysander (Paul Johnson) and Hermia (Ruth Jarvis), and Helena (Jane Lobb) and Demetrius (Simon Peel).

The plot of Dream would take too long to describe here. Suffice to say it is full of arcane magic, silly misunderstandings and scarily manipulative fairies. As well, of course, as a talking donkey called Bottom.

The main feature of this production - aside from the aforementioned emphasis on sex (of the erotic rather than the pornographic kind) - was the propensity towards constant movement; by all the cast, but especially the fairies.

Warren Taylor seemed born to play the satanically impish Puck.

A diminutive bundle of coiled-up energy, his blazing dark-rimmed eyes and prancing gait made him the most entertaining performer on stage.

Very much a star in the making.

As King of the Fairies, David Evans cut a sinister figure as Oberon, whose attempted domination of Titania, played with smouldering sexuality by Charlie Mafham, was clearly never going to be an easy ride.

Sarah Hall and Johannah Whyte were curvaceously sexy fairies Peaseblossom and Mustardseed, in diaphanous costumes designed by Annie McAlister-Dilks.

The group of 'rude mechanicals' who perform Dream's play-within-a-play (a lengthy affair that forms the last act) were headed by a longsuffering Quince (Tricia Osborne-King).

Alexander Catto played her star performer, Nick Bottom, as an old-fashioned ham actor whose drawn out death scene formed one of the funniest moments of the night. Set in ancient Athens, a simple amphitheatre set was transformed by the wonders of UV lighting into a shadowy woodland grove, while Andy Howell's clever lighting and David Evans' and Greg Smith's haunting sound design complemented the frenetic on-stage action. Arguably at times a little too frenetic, Dream was nonetheless an extremely satisfying Shakespearian romp that breathed new life into an old story.

Mark Campbell

* The next production at the Bromley Little Theatre is See How They Run by Philip King, from 11-19 July.

Tickets: 07917 853621.

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