A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT DREAM : OPEN AIR SHAKESPEARE @ THE BELVEDERE AMPHITHEATRE CENTENNIAL PARK

The Australian Shakespeare Company (ASC), the nation’s largest independent theatre company, helmed by its Artistic Director Glenn Elston OAM, has been putting on the magic of open air theatre for audiences around Australia since 1987 with its production of The Wind In The Willows.

ASC’s inaugural Shakespeare Under The Stars production was in 1989 with its production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream at Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens . It is this production which is now being performed at the open air theatre in Centennial Park.

Prior to the opening night Sydney had been suffering from some atrocious weather, the result of one of those terrible East Coast lows. The Tuesday night preview had been cancelled. Fortunately the weather turned for the positive and it was a clear, coolish autumn night for the opening. I had never previously made it to the Belvedere Amphitheatre at Centennial before which I wasn’t happy out. For many years the amptitheatre has been the venue for the summer Moonlight cinema program and I had always been meaning to go. Though a bit difficult to find and a hassle to get parking, the venue was pleasant enough though the seating was a a little low to the ground and uncomfortable.

I wasn’t a big fan of the the Australian Shakespeare Company production. This was not a reflection on the cast who were excellent.

The show felt too long with the use of the full text and then added ‘skits’.  The sound design featured the use of extracts of pop songs which didn’t  always work. The direction felt heavy handed. and

I recently saw  the very fine Bell Shakespeare production directed by its Artistic Director Peter Evans  and Elston’s production paled in comparison to it.

The Australian Shakespeare Company’s production of A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT DREAM is playing the Belvedere Amphitheatre in Centennial Park until Sunday 28th April 2024.

CAST:

Tane Williams Demetrius,. Robin Starveling (The Tailor)

Elizabeth Brennan Bottom (The Weaver), Egeus

Alex Cooper Lysander, Tom Snout (The Tinker)

Jonathon Freeman Puck, Philostrate

Ashleigh Hermann Moth

Jackson McGovern Frances Flute (The Bellows Mender), Thesbe

Olivia McLeod Hermia

Nicole Nabout Titania, Hippolyta

 

CREATIVE TEAM:

Director Glenn Elston OAM

Musical Director and Sound Design Paul Norton

Choreographer Sue-Ellen Shook

Costumes and Props Kaspa Elston

Costume Tailor Karla  Erenbots

Lighting Designers Harrison Cope and Charlee Tjepkema

Production photography  : Ben Fon

 

Location: Centennial Park, Belvedere Amphitheatre (Cnr Carrington Drive  & Broome Avenue, Paddington) 

Dates: Tuesday 9 – Sunday 28 April  

Performances: Tuesday – Sunday 7pm (Gates open 2 hours prior to show start) Tickets: Adults $55 to $115; Concession $45 to $105; Child $25 to $35.

 

https://www.shakespeareaustralia.com.au