When you go to a Shook Up Shakespeare production you’re guaranteed a fun evening at the theatre and Midsummer Madness is no exception. On arrival you are asked to help yourself to a handful of sweets and are also handed a “party bag” which includes a party hat to wear throughout the performance.
The five strong cast are energetic and engage fully with the audience. There is a version of musical chairs where two bowls of ping pong balls and sweets are passed around the audience whilst the cast dance to various excerpts of pop music when the music stops the audience members holding the bowls are asked to pull out a ball; in one bowl the balls have the names of one of Shakespeare’s many sonnets, in the bowl the balls have a suggested performance method, once 2 of the balls have been picked, the cast went into a group huddle to decide who performed it.
Midsummer Madness also includes a couple of game show style segments; firstly a “Whose line is it?” style scene involving a member of the audience with the “bell of fate” and also a “Blind Date” style show which includes the “blow doctor” who happened to be me this evening.
The production has no props or set relying on a strong rapport between the cast and the audience, together with Helen Watkinson’s fast paced direction and sharp script. I cannot single out any of the cast tonight as I felt they were all excellent and work very well together to ensure an entertaining hour which simply flies by and leaves you wanting more.
Review by Karen Pond
Join Shook Up Shakespeare for an evening of mad, magical and musical midsummer madness in honour of good old Will, our national treasure: playwright, poet… party planner! How now shall this be compass’d? Canst thou bring me to the party? We promise to transport you back in time to Bankside, the only place to party in 16th century London!
Cast and Creatives
Beatrice – Genevieve Berkeley-Steele
Adriana – Elizabeth Menabney
Olivia – Phoebe Rhodes
Portia – Madelyn Smedley
Faerie Queen – Melissa Vaughan
Rosemary Branch Theatre, Islington N1 3DT:
Tuesday 14th June – Saturday 18th June at 7.30pm
Sunday 19th June at 6pm