paradise dreaming - a city fairytale, by hamfisted - chamberlain square 23/06/2006simon gray - 2006-06-23, 23:09:18
it's difficult to know where to start with this performance; billed as it was as 'a contemporary performance of shakespeare's a midsummer night's dream', celebrating the wedding of 'helen' and 'dominic'.
certainly when one arrived at chamberlain square to pick up your ticket (a buttonhole plastic flower) you were given the impression of something promising - if you had seen the setting up of the space in paradise gardens down in front of the conservatoire, you would have seen the potential for something magical. the staging around the chamberlain square fountain was less impressive - but that's ok, because most outdoor performances of amnd i've seen have been minimally staged for the first half; it's all part of that suspension of disbelief, innit?
in the warm-up before the performance was scheduled to start at 8:30 a number of schoolchildren came in to the space, showing off their circus skills with diabolo, clubs, and unicycle, and did a show comparable with some of my older, hippy, friends. nearer the time a few members of the company started circulating, working to get the audience into our character as wedding guests ("so how do you know the groom, then?"). as a warmup, it was quite good.
unfortunately, things started to go downhill before the performance proper had even started...
at around 8:15 the music, by composer and musical director ian chapman, started coming through the pair of speakers either side of the stage. by 8:30, after i'd heard the same four bars of [...]