Fourth in the series of five production from the Michael Grandage Company at the Noel Coward Theatre brings A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the headline actor Sheridan Smith and David Walliams. This production has the fairies set in a hippy commune and the play interspersed with 70s and 80s pop tunes recordings and the occasional song and dance from the cast. This part of the production works visually but not necessary for the pacing as the songs interrupts the flow of the energy and comedy that the scenes have. One of the scene when Bottom is transformed back to human felt like a complete halt in momentum purely for a costume change. But this may be addressed and resolved through the preview period. The Athenians mismatched couples of Helena, Hermia, Lysanda and Demetrius are in a progressive state of undress as they chase each other through the Forest. This section is played with a large amount of physical comedy while Demetrius (Stefano Braschi) and Lysanda’s (Sam Swainsbury) toned body and white shirts/underpants combination has the look of a Dolce & Gabbana advert. The third strand of the story dominated by Bottom, played by David Walliams in his slightly camp, exaggerated style that is familiar to those who has seen his work. It is not the biggest stretch for Walliams but it is effective for the comedy. Sheridan Smith’s Titania/Hippolyta role is less showy and somewhat underused. This applies to both Padraic Delaney’s Oberon/Theseus and Gavin Fowler’s Puck which is not necessarily a bad thing as the mismatched couples usually get a let showy parts. Nonetheless, this is an entertaining, beautiful and funny production.


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