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Shakespeare For Breakfast review at C Venues, Edinburgh – ‘ inventive fringe institution’

Shakespeare for Breakfast
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Shakespeare For Breakfast is now in its 25th year and it’s obviously doing something right. The formula has remained pretty unchanged over the years and sell-out performances through much of this run are a credit to fearless adaptation.

In fact, this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream has not so much been edited as completely re-written, albeit affectionately, making it accessible to even the most unfamiliar ear.

The lovers are a fusion of Made In Chelsea types. This attack of the Sloanes is contrasted with a Star Wars fairyland that replaces Oberon with Obi Wan. The rude mechanicals are also drawn from reality TV and Emily Jane Kerr’s bully Bottom is transformed not into an ass, but Boris Johnson. There’s also a healthy dose of audience participation, specifically when it comes to casting Snout, and the references are all shamelessly on trend.

Damian Sandys’ pacy direction ensures that the company of five rarely gets breathing space between quick-changes. The energy, invention and humour in the room is palpable. If there’s a bum note then it’s the finale musical number, which outstays its welcome. Otherwise the spirit of the fringe and the spirit of Shakespeare couldn’t be more compatible.

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Broad, comic adaptation that has rightly become a fringe institution