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Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, until Sat 16 Feb I...

You wish, in some ways, that it had been a poor production. If it had been, all the poignancy and anger you associate with the joint failures of the SAC and the East Lothian Council to fund the Brunton Theatre Company might diminish.

But, once again David Mark Thomson delivers a good quality version of a rep standard, with striking design, clever movement and a strong cast, all on a shoestring. It’s not that this production will entirely change the way you think about The Dream, but it glows with meticulous attention to detail, and realises many of the play’s ideas with intelligence.

In this version, the Puck (Keith Warwick) is Puckish, the Bottom (Peter Grimes) is an ass, and the mechanicals are as inept as ever. There are four delightful ill- matched young lovers and their elders, the traditional Titania/Hippolyta (Nicola Burnett Smith) and Oberon/Theseus (Neil McKinven) doubling show us the appropriate rational and pre- rational divided self with real psychological dexterity.

M;/‘/\.L’:.H.i ~/l\l


Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 16 Feb, then

Neil McKinven pucks about with Keith Warwick

Most striking of all is Karen Tennant’s set, a silver floor below a succession of equally reflective aluminium-like strips, which bend and straighten alternately, illustrating the warping of perspective in the forest of the mind to which the four young lovers retreat in escaping the more rational city landscape. The early sequences are backgrounded by two flaming vessels upstage, a slightly unnerving sight to the pyrophobic, but very effective.

The cast is strong throughout, though special mention might be made of Katrina Bryan’s Helena and Lucy Paterson‘s Hermia, whose conflicts over their men are

played for all their worth, while Gareth Glen and Jordan Young also excel as their potential squeezes. It’s good to see youthful actors of such vigour and boisterous energy.

The question now remains about the Brunton. You can’t help but feel that this terrific little theatre is the victim of brinkmanship between its two potential funders. You fancy that a staring match has gone on between them as to who would pick up the relatively low-cost tab, and that the company now faces closure simply because nobody blinked. There is still time to rectify this preternatural stupidity, and I hope that good sense will prevail the end. (Steve Cramer)


The Arches, Glasgow, Sat 17 Feb

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