Arc news: April 2008

Barking & Dagenham Youth Theatre perform 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

'Bottom and co are tops'

Karen Moss of The Post newspaper reviews the final performance of Barking & Dagenham Youth Theatre's production of Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at the Broadway Theatre...

There is something very fitting about Shakespeare's most mischevious comedy being played by a group of enthusiastic young thespians.

The youngsters from Barking & Dagenham Youth Theatre, directed by Arc, gave three performances of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' last week April 1 to 3 at the Broadway in Barking.

It is the story of four young lovers struggling to understand their feelings, with a sprinkling of fairy dust and set in an enchanted forest filled with naughty nymphs. Seeing it performed by young actors was a treat, because who understands the pain and drama of love triangles better than teenagers?

It is a romantic comedy set in ancient Athens, Hermia (played by Katie Snooks) is beautiful and admired throughout the land. She and Lysander (Alex Tucker) are in love. But Demetrius (Robert Storey) also loves Hermia; her father Egeus (Matthew Neal) wishes her to marry him and not Lysander and forbids their love.

To make things worse, Hermia's friend Helena (Mae Henderson) is still in love with Demetrius, even though he left her to pursue Hermia.

Unable to live without each other, Hermia and Lysander decide to run away and tell Helena of their plans, but jealous Helena tells Demetrius of their flight. They chase through the enchanted woods where warring Fairy King and Queen, Oberon (Billy Aldridge) and Titania (Vicky Downs) live with a playful fairy named Puck.

Havoc is caused by a violet flower that makes a sleeping person fall in love with whoever they next set eyes on, and soon both men are in love with Helena instead of Hermia.

That same night in the woods, six foolish tradesmen from the town, Quince (Sarah Price), Snug (Poppy Stevenson-Hanns), Snout (Ruth Jacob), Flute (Shaun Alexander), Starveling (Jonathan Bright) and Bottom (Anil Sivarajah) plan to rehearse their play. But Puck interrupts their plans when he places a spell on Bottom by giving him the head of a donkey, Puck then makes Titania fall in love with Bottom.

Barking & Dagenham Youth Theatre used some very interesting devices to help the audiences access the meaning of the play. Even very young children in the audience, who could not have understood all of the language, laughed along with the characters.

Puck, the mischievous woodland fairy was played by four actors (Laura Besly, Karis Braithwaite, Chloe Butler and Becky Snooks) helping to demonstrate his different moves and show how he could flit around the forest causing trouble so quickly.

There was some fantastic physical comedy, especially from Katie Snooks who played Hermia, she was wonderfully funny and expressive with the language.

Anil Sivarajah also stood out from the cast and has superb comic timing and had the audience in stitches with his portrayal of self-involved Bottom.

A tremendous amount of effort had evidently gone into this production. The costumes were spot on, but with a vibrant modern twist. With its atmospheric music, dramatic lighting and a delightful cast, this version of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' was beautiful to watch.

Other players were Laura Briden, Kelly Alexander, Ishaan Sood, Tessa Kerslake, Chloe Smith, Sebastian McGinley and Carissa Butler.

Karen Moss - Journalist, The Barking & Dagenham Post newspaper, Wednesday 9 April 2008

Arc diary of events

Every Saturday
Barking & Dagenham Good Causes Lottery Draw
Click here to buy your ticket to support Arc Theatre!

Throughout '20
Young people for LB B&D MOPAC & Jack Petchey:
Raised Voices female leadership programme

Throughout '20
Nursery, infant & primary schools:
Oliver's Tales storytelling workshops

Throughout '20
Primary & secondary schools in London Boroughs:
Broadcast/Broadcast Junior online safety programme

Throughout '20
Primary & secondary schools for BeFirst/LB B&D:
Streets Ahead / Crossing Over road safety drama workshops

Throughout '20
London & south east primary schools for HS2 Ltd:
Playing it Safe health & safety programme

News archive

May 2020 April 2020 March 2020 February 2020 January 2020 December 2019 November 2019 October 2019 September 2019 August 2019 July 2019 June 2019 May 2019 April 2019 March 2019 February 2019 January 2019 December 2018 November 2018 October 2018 September 2018 August 2018 July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006