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Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream

The World Shakespeare Festival 2012 continues with this production in Russian with English subtitles.

Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream (As You Like It)

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford

The World Shakespeare Festival 2012 continues with this production in Russian with English subtitles.

If that sounds highbrow, prepare to be amazed as the stage erupts with puppetry, acrobatics, ballet, glorious singing and Venya, the cleverest performing Jack Russell terrier since The Artist.

It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a show so much. The applause for this multi talented Russian team went on and on.

This is Dream without the fairies. Director Dmitry Krymov and his 20-strong cast from the Moscow Theatre School of Dramatic Art concentrate on the "rude mechanicals," the working-class actors staging the tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe for the new rich of Moscow.

The play's not ready, the giant puppets wobble and the cast are nervous and worried about smelling of garlic. Somehow it all comes together in a madcap 90 minutes of silliness which occasionally spills over into slapstick and the earthiest of humour.

Tragically, this comedy is at Stratford only until Saturday when it transfers to the Edinburgh Festival. There are tickets available at Stratford (box office 0844 800 1110) and if you miss this show, you'll have missed a treat.

By Peter Rhodes

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