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  • Writer's pictureGraham Richardson

A Midsummer Night's Drole - Review and a note on Venues

Updated: Aug 9, 2018

A Midsummer Night's Drole

and a note on venues

theSpace on the Mile

10:05 or 21:20

As soon as you walk into the space, you have a pretty good idea of what the show is going to be like. A loud greeting from the actors sitting in the audience, odd piles of straw and instruments on the stage; this was my type of show. And, although I was disappointed for the performers at the small size of the audience, it made for a really cosy, relaxed, and personal atmosphere.

The premise of the piece is that, when theatre was banned in the 17th century, rag-tag groups of mediocre actors went around the country performing shorted versions of plays equipped with a few musical instruments and not much else.

OwleScreame, a company that I am immediately interested to know more about, performed the drole with irreverence and wit. I was entertained throughout, and have very little to say about the show other than it is worth every penny you pay to see it.

However, if you have read any other of my blogs, you know that I am interested to talk about the Fringe and its identity in these days of large venues and high ticket prices. Despite these rise in ticket costs, shows often are given very short times to get in an out, and may even be fined if they run on too long (although not in this venue to my knowledge). No audience wants to be shouted at immediately after the play to leave immediately.

The result is often not efficiency as the venue wishes, but the detriment of some aspect of the performance. How Owl Schreame coped with this issue deserves to be written about because I have never before seen it highlighted and dealt with in such a professional and entertaining way.

The actor playing Bottom rounded off the evening (morning...) with a speech about the ramshackle nature of droles and their importance link to modern day theatre. During this, the cast were forced to run from front to back stage pulling out all their props and cleaning as they went. It went so far as to using a lint roller to pick up straw from the curtains.

At one point Bottom quipped (not ad verbatim) 'This play is shorter than the original, it may be the perfect cut for A Midsummer Night's Dream. Although the venue might disagree'. The whole farce seemed appropriate and pointed without pointing the finger at any one in particular. It drew attention to a problem while managing to turn it into entertainment.

I hope they did not get in trouble with the venue for running over time. And I really hope the audience appreciated what was happening. Reviewers and other performers often get the chance to get comped tickets for performances and can appreciate these things. Would you be so kind if you had paid a high fee? I don't know.

In any case, this was simply an entertaining and fabulous show. Please go and see it. It receives my Great Show Gannet rating (click here to find out what I am talking about)



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