Travelling theatre company Footsbarn’s performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream takes place on a big top erected on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill.
Featuring an international cast of players, the stylish production takes place on and around an apron stage, with a quartet of musicians providing live medieval style music off to the side.
Costumes and set are all visually pleasing, and are used to good effect to evoke the ethereal atmosphere of the forest at night. The actors are all wonderful in terms of timing and comedy, and you can tell this is one of the plays that the company have spent their 35 years of existence honing to perfection.
Special mention should go to the actor who plays Bottom (and Lysander – most of the troupe take on dual roles during the performance), whose facial expressions and comedy timing suit the performance perfectly. Also to the Japanese actress who plays Titania, flitting between English and Japanese to memorably portray the faerie mysticism of her character.
Part bawdy and burlesque, part stylised and physical, you can imagine this is how Shakespeare was performed back in Elizabethan times. As the performers circle the stage, dancing slowly whilst the musicians play a madrigal, the true spirit of Shakespearean theatre is conjured up before us and casts us all under its spell.