A Midsummer Night's Dream

Peter Brook's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Stratford-upon-Avon) is awash with genius. It is a staggering, astonishing achievement which throws dazzling new light on the play yet never fractures the text for the sake of gimmickry.

Set (by Sally Jacobs) in a white box, and decorated with the appurtenances of a circus - such a trapezes and horizontal ladders; and clothed in brightly coloured satins and rich, brocaded velvets, Shakespeare's bucolic fairy tale enchants us afresh.

In a courageous, inspired break with tradition, Brook introduces several stunning innovations. Puck's magic flower is a whirling silver disc balanced on a juggler's stick; the midnight wood is represented by dangling steel coils. And, to enhance the dream-like unreality of it all, Oberon (Alan Howard) doubles as Theseus, Titania (Sara Kestelman) as Hippolyta, and Puck (John Kane) as Philostrate.

One of the great productions of our time.


Observer, 30.8.70


Playing Shakespeare/Dream