Watched BBC and Russell T Davies (of Doctor Who fame) adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream
. I'll hint my thoughts on it by opening with a question. You are producing this play and at a scene near the end
is meant to be moving. The cast member hits it out of the park so do you
1) Congratulate the cast member afterwards and do all you can to ensure that the moment is well supported, that it doesn't hampered by anything later before it ends up on TV.
2) Work with long time ally and composer Murray Gold to highlight that this is an emotional scene by playing REALLY LOUD MUSIC SO ONE CAN BARELY HEAR THE CAST MEMBER
in case the audience members are too stupid to pick on the emotional scene by watching the thing.
If 1, the BBC should hire you. If 2, please join Russell T Davies and be tried for treason at the tower of London for butchering this play.
The problem with this production is very much the team behind it. Some of Russell T Davies flaws in Doctor Who return, the sets look a bit gaudy and unrealistic, there is a lack of subtlety (example the guards wear blatant Nazi uniforms but Ray Holman also added such absurd helmets that WWII would have ended when the German army saw the helmets and immediately surrendered in humiliation) throughout. Music is abused during parts of the film when silence or something quiet would be welcomed instead, the ending is rewritten but while some neat moments in it that lack of subtlety wrecks it overall. There is also an idea they have that in itself might have worked had they adjusted the rest of the script for it, instead it leads to some unintended consequences
. Due to need to cut down to 90 minutes becuase BBC doesn't trust it's audience, it loses some narrative cohesion. In fairness to Davies and co, they use I-pads well for some humorous scenes and they flesh out Titania's (Maxine Peake) fairies well with a sense of individual characters.
Yet the play is nice thanks to Shakespeare's writing and the cast. The humour is nice but doesn't make one laugh with only Kate Kennedy as Helena showing a real comic touch, the romances are nice enough to provide a bit of charm. Matt Lucas makes a very good Bottom with charm while capturing the annoying side of him, Nonso Anozie as Oberon and Peake have formidable presence and would have loved more exchanges between the two of them but Peake can be too quiet, Hiran Abeysekera as Puck lacked a little charm but had his own sense of style. Of the four lovers, Kennedy was amusing and grew into the role while they used her height for good comedy, Matthew Tennyson showed some flair as Lysander but faded after a good start, Paapa Essiedu was good as Demetrius, Prisca Bakare had a sense of force of personality as Hermia. John Hannah is the only disappointment as Theseus with an erratic display.
Overall: The second season of Hollow Crown and the Russell T Davies production has been disappointing. Most (other then Richard III) weren't bad, indeed Henry VI part 1 was good, 2nd was less to my taste but competent and Midsummer Nights dream had charm to help overcome it's producers crimes but none was Richard II. One thing that doesn't seem to have helped is reducing the running times has meant cuts which has led to a lack of narrative cohesion, I don't blame the writers for it but I do blame the BBC who presumably did this to encourage people to watch and didn't consider the problems
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”