A Midsummer Night’s Dream elixir


A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare, Australian Shakespeare Company, Royal Botanic Gardens, until January 24

★★★

As the lights come up on 2021, Shakespeare Under the Stars offers one uninterrupted tradition on Melbourne’s theatre scene. Glenn Elston and the Australian Shakespeare Company have been producing al fresco summer seasons for more than three decades, and regular theatregoers, deprived for much of last year, will find a comforting familiarity in this production.

It is fortunate timing. Outdoor venues will play an important role in allowing performance to return live this summer, there are few more appealing locales for A Midsummer Night’s Dream than the Royal Botanic Gardens. Given patrons are seated a picnic blanket away in normal times, COVID-safe distancing doesn’t change the experience one jot.

Superlative productions of the Dream are rare, perhaps because the play is such a reliable crowd pleaser. The last one to reach Melbourne was directed, with charm and protean comedic force, by Peter Evans for Bell Shakespeare’s 25th anniversary in 2014.



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