One’s first thought when considering a show based around YouTube culture may not be Shakespeare but Magnetic North Theatre Company use Puck and the lovers of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to great effect. The audience is invited into a backyard in Bardon for a cozy and intimate performance. Puck journeys from the faire realm to find out what is disrupting fae magic. Nothing has ever gone wrong when the internet is involved, right.
Magnetic North Theatre Company don’t shy away from difficult issues with shows like Medusa and Cassandra and The Boy Doll under their belt. If anything the show may try to tackle one too many aspects of internet culture but it does ask us to look closely at our online behaviour. Everything from keyboard warriors to Lysander’s capitalism rage to the wholesome connections that can be found (the joke is worth it so I won’t spoil it now). Some of the jokes deserve alongside other internet slang. It comes down to one thing in the end, do we appreciate our actions when their consequences are through by the internet.
The show is throughly fun and director/playwright Art Green has done an excellent job piecing all the bits together. Tiff Lane’s design is functional, playful and still cozy. There are some really clever set elements towards the end, that do what a good set should, make the emotion on stage physical. Andy Green’s performance as Demetrius is layered and thoughtful. Brodie Shelley as Helena is forceful and grounded. Joseph Wilson as the vapid Lysander is delightfully endearing. Maddy Parkinson as the rational Hermia is charming. But the rightful scene stealer is the energetic Ecks as Puck. Every time Puck pipes up the audience’s attention is drawn to him and Ecks shines in the role.
You’ll enjoy the show if you’re an internet junkie, otherwise some of the jokes might not land. I’d give five stars but I’m not sure Puck would know where to put them.
But real talk is anyone on the internet listening to each other? You might want to listen to this tip. The show takes place outside so dress appropriately and the route to the performance space has low lighting and as noted on the listing not wheelchair accessible.
The reviewer attended the Thursday 10th May performance.
Dates: 11th-12th May, 17th-19th May (7pm starts)
Picture credit: Aimi Hobson