A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe Review: Elle While is a new interpretation of the forest play

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Here’s a restless note in the lighthearted comedy of Elle While’s staging of Shakespeare’s play. Also quite right. Though often portrayed as a happy romp, this is a tale of romantic confusion and control in which the fairy king Oberon drugs his partner into having sex with an animal. Darkness never overwhelms the comedy in While’s production, but it’s always there. The story’s Lord of Misrule, Puck, is played by Globe Artistic Director Michelle Terry as an ambivalent character, charming but also frightening, who staggers off the ground screaming, wearing a green face mask and a matted crown of twigs.

Blurred borders are the order of the day. The costumes are broadly Elizabethan, interspersed with outfits that could be straight out of a 1980s pop video. The Globe’s habitually flexible approach to gender in the cast adds illuminating new layers to the confusion of young lovers lost in the forest, where their affections are muddled and diverted. Helena is played by Isobel Thom, who is non-binary and starred in ‘I, Joan’ here last year.

https://www.standard.co.uk/culture/theatre/a-midsummer-nights-dream-shakespeares-globe-review-elle-while-fresh-take-b1082889.html A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe Review: Elle While is a new interpretation of the forest play

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