A Midsummer Night’s Dream | Newman College
In the middle of this confusing yet constantly freezing Melbourne winter, Matilda Wraight and Newman College’s production pulls the audience into a warmer world of magic and dark, secret summers.
With more naturalistic styles dominating, it’s interesting to see a more heightened style of acting from the cast. In particular, Jack Bennet is as much of a show stealer as his character with flamboyant and bombastic portrayal constantly drawing laughter from the audience. Aaron Bhat is energetic and engaging Puck who is at his strongest when interacting directly with the audience, whether it be in sheepish glances or magic trick set changes, and the invisibility gag of both him and Oberon is hilarious. Ellan Lincoln-Hyde’s performance as Titania strengthens in the more comedic scenes and her entranced infatuation is hysterical.
The more traditional style extends to design, with a melded renaissance and ancient Athenian vibe.
The ensemble is strong both in their confused disgust at the supernatural romance and the hilarious show within a show of Pyramus and Thisbe. And the multiple sets of lovers are funny and endearing every time they’re onstage, unable to detach themselves from their partner. With it being many of the actors first time performing Shakespeare they have an admirable confidence with the verse that should strengthen through the production season.
The more traditional style extends to design, with a melded renaissance and ancient Athenian vibe. The fairies are set apart by the glitter across their faces – or, in the case of Puck, their entire bodies – which has a particularly mystic quality under the more dramatic later lighting. The forest set of the silhouetted briar spotlight and actual tree also draw the audience into the dark woods where fairies reign.