Someone told me once that the reason why the name “Macbeth” is not to be uttered in the theatre is not because of its supernatural/bloody themes- but because it is the show that is produced to financially save a theatre on the verge of bankrupcy- and so “Macbeth” has become synonymous with a theatre in trouble. Also apart of this old theatre knowledge- which like all gossip doesn’t know its source nor author- is that A Midsummers Night’s Dream has the same function for a theatre in trouble- because it is a crowd pleaser.

Regardless of the initial reservations (from competing independent companies applying for Bsharp slots) of a Shakespeare in the B-Sharp space-and the expected political grumbles about belvoir staffers getting slots B-Sharp slots- even if this is a safe programming choice in reaction to the GFC- you can’t deny that it is a very fun show.

Eamon Flack’s director’s note talks of the original as one of Shakespeares private plays- filled with in-jokes and mockery of its audience… and has a very amusing interception of Charlie Garber’s belief that all Shakespeares plays were written by Edward de Vere the 17th Earl of Oxford- which is particularly amusing if you went to the University of Sydney and was forced to listen to these and other de-masquerading conspiracy theories as enacted by the very unique “Kinetic Energy Theatre Company.”

And the unformulated- unfounded speculation from Eamon continues – a fantasia about Shakespeare playing Puck etc etc- and I think this directors note is very much in keeping with theatre history- traditions cobbled together with specualtion, storytelling and rumour (and some spicy gossip)… and so I think it is my favourite directors notes I have read this year… especially with the Garber interludes.

For purists- this reading of Midsummers will not be to their liking- but for those who remember the delights of undergrad experimentation at SUDS (Dave Harmon – I think we both know what I’m talking about).. and who wished that Shakespeare was more fun, more irreverently handled and more surprising- this will be your cup of tea!

The cast look genuinely amused by what they are doing- and give as much of themselves to us via the injoke of being at the Belvoir Downstairs space (“Shhhhhh!!!!!! Happy Days!”) . This is not high, lofty art- this is Shakespeare as entertainment for his peers- and Flack is definitely staying tru to that intention with this production. The first lighting design I have seen from Chris Page- which delighted me no end- and the set design by Alistair Watts of the ever unfurling backdrop- makes good use of a tiny space with many locations.

It is a very fun end to the Bsharp season and will push people into the night appreciating that love is the most complicated of all human pursuits.

(By the way, I believe it is sold out- or maybe there are tickets available for Sat night)

Writer: William Shakespeare
Director: Eamon Flack
Cast: Elizabeth Blackmore, Kit Brookman, Katharine Cullen, Gareth Davies, Charlie Garber, Andy Lees, Anya Poukchanski, Tim Spencer and Tim Walter