Friday, 19 March 2010

Judi Dench ... as Titania?

Yes, you did read that title right. Judi Dench is currently in Kingston upon Thames, playing the queen of the faeries in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

An unusual choice, given her age, but perhaps is explained by the fact she is directed by Sir Peter Hall, who directed her in the role forty years ago.

So there I was, at the Rose, sat on the floor (telling sad stories of the death of kings). To explain away the age 'problem', the play started with a mime of the actors getting ready and being visited by Elizabeth I, who takes an interest in the script and seemingly decides that the only person to play Titania is her.

This production of AMND is perhaps the finest I have ever seen (including film versions). All the actors were wonderfully cast (the Mechanicals all had broad brummie accents, which suited them perfectly). Bottom was wonderful, with superb comic timing, and just the right amount of seriousness to make him completely ridiculous. The way he created expression with the Asses' head was a joy to watch, and had me in stitches more than once.

The lovers were very good too - particularly in the later scenes when everything is going wrong and they are near killing each other. And Oberon, as the engineer of all this mayhem was cool and collected, barely taking any notice of Puck's gambolling.

In short, this worked so well, that I wish more directors would take the chance on casting older actresses for these seeming 'young' roles. After all, the Bristol Old Vic is currently staging a geriatric version of Romeo and Juliet, which sounds wonderful!

I've just time to give my apologies for not being around the past few weeks (internet has come to the house, I've just not had time to post!), and now, fair people of the blogosphere, I am off to the other side of the world, to hunt for Hobbits and Lions named Aslan .... in short, I am off to New Zealand.
I will post extensively when I get back, and will no doubt have many pictures to share with you all.

Now all I have to worry about is whether I'm taking too many books!