Theatre Albas make excellent use of the loch-side backdrop of the gardens of Duddingston Manse in this outdoor production. To promenade here would have been adventurous but there is enough atmosphere to help bring the woods to life. It is a light, romping production that makes full use of large cast – including members of the company’s youth and outreach wings.
If they are more used to creating plays in Scots, Alba bring a clear interpretation to the text as a whole. Individually, they are rather more patchy. Michelle Duncan, as Helena, is the only one of the four lovers who really gets her tongue around the language and uses it to whiplash Emma Laidlaw’s Hermia.
Suzanne Dance makes a languorous Titania, whose clearly goth-influenced fairy band are not above sneering at their queen’s predilections for donkey flesh. They have a hint of affection for her Oberon, made crisp and acerbic by the consistently strong Keith Hutcheon.
Alan McQueen (Quince) and James Sutherland (Bottom) lead the mechanicals in a mask which draws all the comedy down gently while maintaining their characters’ naive bravura. Solid, if unadventurous, interpretation of royal party complete a production which knows exactly which buttons to press.
Duddingston Kirk Manse, August 5-22
- William Shakespeare
- Charles Nowosielski
- Theatre Alba
- Cast includes
- Keith Hutcheon, Michelle Duncan, Alan McQueen, James Sutherland
- Running time
- 2hrs 45mins