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Review of Door Ajar’s Theatre’s Thisbe at Theatre Royal Stratford East

Thisbe

Have you ever got to the end of a book or a play and wondered what happens next? In the case of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you need wonder no more as Thisbe imagines what happens 13 years later, through the eyes of Helena and Demetrius’s daughter Thisbe. Fans of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will already have guessed that the title character is named after the play Pyramus and Thisbe which is performed at the weddings of Helena and Demetrius and Hermia and Lysander in the original play. There are many other references to the original Shakespeare hidden through the script which provided amusement for those who picked up on them.

Samantha Sutherland, in her writing, has also tried to stay true to the Shakespearean style of dialogue, and Shakespeare’s tendency to intersperse dialogue with songs. Whilst she perhaps doesn’t capture the humour in the same way Shakespeare himself does, the overall effect is to make the play seem like a convincing ‘sequel’ to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Rosalind Burt gave a convincing performance as the moody teenager, Thisbe, and, as the rest of the actors became Thisbe’s conscience (with inventive use of hats), it was interesting to see how these reflected the other characters the same actors were playing, from the mischievous Puck-like Koros to the more cautious Helena-like Tyrphena. That said, the constant shouting and moody teenage act at times did get very irritating and at times stopped me empathising with the character. The stand out performance for me came from David Osmond as Demetrius who captured the contradiction of both the innocence and the dangerous obsessiveness of the enchanted love that he and Helena share.

The company is made up largely of actor-musicians which allowed for regular interspersal of music and instrumentals to add humour or atmosphere accordingly. I particularly enjoyed the tin whistle representing Puck’s mischief, and the use of a trombone to create a cauldron. The songs themselves were amusing at times but didn’t always add a huge amount to the story and only occasionally did they add the fun and merriment that music is so often used to do in Shakespeare’s plays. That said, nobody can doubt the talent and versatility of the cast. This was displayed further by Jennifer Wilson who, alongside singing and acting, signed the majority of the production (with the occasional contribution from other cast members when she was playing her part).

Overall, this was an interesting show and, whilst irritating at times, provided a well-acted and credible sequel to Shakespeare’s original work leading to an enjoyable evening.

3 Star Review

Door Ajar Theatre presents Thisbe. Fourteen years have passed since the fateful night Thisbe’s parents, Helena and Demetrius, were lost in the woods. The only thing they remember is waking up completely in love with one another.

But as their love becomes obsession, where does this leave their neglected and confused daughter, Thisbe? Cue the prankster Puck and his fairy flunkeys who love nothing more than to meddle with the mortal world. With the promise of solving all of her problems, they lure Thisbe into the woods where it isn’t long before she finds herself embroiled in their roguery. Intoxicated with magic and adventure, has Thisbe gone too far this time? Can she stop her family falling apart? And does she even want to? With BSL interpretation built into every performance and an original score, this play is full of playful wit and boisterous theatricality. Running time: 1 hour 15 minutes (no interval).

Samantha Sutherland recently took time out to chat about the production. This is what she had to say.

Thisbe
Thu 23rd – Sat 25th Feb
Gerry’s, On Stage
http://www.stratfordeast.com/

Author

  • Emily Gami

    I am a 25 year old Geography teacher who really loves the theatre. I first fell in love with the theatre when I was 15 and since moving to London 4 years ago I have tried to see as many shows as possible. On the rare occasions I am not at work or at the theatre I can usually be found on a tennis court or curled up somewhere with a good book

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