Swing A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Jazz You Like It

Rating ***

19.35-20.50, C venues C

Courage Performers, a youth performing arts club from Wiltshire, presents a very strong rendition of the Shakespeare classic ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ with a Second World War twist. Relocating from Greece to London during the war is done with ease and a surprising consistency, aside from a mention of Athens in the final scene. It is a shame that more was not done with the space as, since it is rather large, it felt quite bare at points. Using Puck and the fairies to transform the scenes did help to allude to the magical element of the play as a whole, but the set sadly did not support this.

The addition of songs in place of some text (which has been well edited) is a lovely touch but the singing is slightly weak in places given the strenuous nature of the dancing that accompanies it. I could hear singers joining in from backstage and I would suggest that this needs to be done more strongly so that the voices are not lost by the music. The young actress who played Helena did the best at coping with the music, singing quite beautifully and then later becoming the focal point of my favourite scene in which both of the male lovers are enamoured with her.

While all performances are not as confident as Nick Bottom’s, there are some very talented young people in this company who are currently failing to realise their potential. They need to enunciate, project their voices, have conviction in what they are doing (as it is done well), step into the light more and carry on even when mistakes do crop up. I do hope these performers will grow in confidence over the course of their run as they have the chance to turn what is already a very good show into something quite great.

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