There is a great deal to enjoy in Pineapple Performing Arts’ hip hop and “breakin’” version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, told here with no set, modern costume, and plenty of music. Shakespeare’s Dream sees troubled lovers trying to gain their hearts’ desires, squabbling fey folk playing tricks and a group of ‘simple folk’ trying to put on some entertainment with a play that winds up as hilarious as it is supposed to be tragic.
In this very modern adaptation, Shakespeare’s humour and ideas are updated brilliantly, with pop culture, “crews” and street language, along with comedy about how such talk is not intelligible to all. The lovers are very funny and strongly characterised, the fairies impressive in their movement and with their own strangeness, and the crew trying to put on their ‘Rappera’ entertainment (rap meets opera) very well played for the most part. All have some truly impressive dance moves.
There is great wit in this adaptation, and rap – with its rhyme and rhythm – works very well for Shakespeare’s plays. Fine use is made of dance-offs and rap-battles and some genuinely well-thought out and delivered characterisations hold attention with grand humour. The initial energy does wane a bit near the end, though, and the formula of dance at start of scene becomes somewhat repetitive, breaking up the forward drive of the piece. Sound mix problems mean that, particularly near the end of the show, raps cannot always be heard well and this, unfortunately, really affects the Rappera. There is great scope for physical comedy here that is not being fully realised, with all the focus on the rap, and despite the considerable talents of the one playing ‘Dog’, who shines in this production, that rap is overwhelmed by the soundtrack.
PCUK – A Midsummer Night’s Remix is a highly entertaining piece that would benefit from a few cuts towards the end to help drive the initial energy and sheer momentum through and it really needs its sound levels adjusted to properly support the words. Those words are well worth hearing, with some brilliant one-liners and inspired adaptations of Shakespeare’s verse, and the performers in this production bring fresh energy, wit, talent and sheer joyous exuberance to what was already a highly entertaining story.
15 – 20 August, 15:15 (16:45) @ theSpace @ Venue 45