A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Newcastle’s Dance City

Meeting by moonlight

A light , frothy and charming version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with accomplished, engaging dancers and a grand classical score by Mendelssohn comes to Newcastle’s Dance City.
Anthony Baker, the innovative Artistic Director, brings classical ballet to Newcastle’s Dance City for the first time. Performed by Ballet Cymru from Wales, this production was Nominated Best Dance Production 2013 at the Theatre Critics of Wales Awards.

Dancing in the moonlight

The story is edited to make it dance friendly, which is rather a relief as A Midsummer Night’s Dream can seem very complicated even with the dialogue. The cast of familiar characters are all there. The Queen of the Fairies Titania, her suitor King Oberon, Puck the mischievous messenger, and the other mercurial fairies, who inhabit the supernatural fairy kingdom. Bottom and his boot wearing “Rude Mechanicals” present their famous play Pyramus and Thisbe and add pantomime comedy to the proceedings.

Making an ass of Titania

And finally the lovers, caught in a web of mistaken identity due to the magic of Puck’s flowery potion. The story plays out under a huge moon projected onto the backdrop of the stage, representing the transformational magic of the forest at night.

Fools for love

The lighting is beautiful with projections of coloured leaves carpeting the stage and mysterious looking woods melting in and out of the back screen, creating the fairy forest.
The costumes designed by Yvonne Greenleaf are delicate and colourful although we did feel rather robbed of the option of lots of gorgeous dresses at the group wedding at the end of the story. 

The dancing queen

There is plenty of classical choreography for the traditionalists including a pas des deux between Oberon and Titania in the second Act, but there are also some more contemporary elements which have been added by the dancers themselves which give the characters a bit more individuality.

Fairytale finale

Ballet Cymru was established in 1986 by Artistic Director, Darius James and Administrative Director, Yvonne Williams, to be a beacon for quality classical ballet in Wales. This production is certainly that, and this was a sold out show which is great for Dance City. With classical ballet you are getting a dance form where you know to some extent what you’re going to get. Personally, I like to be surprised by both the form and the music and I usually am at Dance City, but the packed out auditorium gave a most enthusiastic welcome to this top quality production from an accomplished classical company.