Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, West Yorks Playhouse, Leeds

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Northern Ballet’s version of Shakespeare’s comedy is witty and thoroughly enchanting.

The action is based in a 1940s touring ballet, with company boss Theseus (Hironao Takahashi) falling out with Hermia (Martha Leebolt) about giving up ballet when they marry.

Lysander (Kenneth Tindall) and Demetrius (Tobias Batley) are dancers both in love with Hermia, while Helena (Pippa Moore) is hopelessly besotted with Demetrius.

Robin Puck (Kevin Poeung) is the incredibly strict dance master and Nick Bottom (Darren Goldsmith) works backstage.

When the company spend the night on sleeper train, Midsummer’s Eve does its magic and they are transformed into the Shakespeare characters in their dreams.

The dancing was beautiful to watch but it’s how cleverly the story is told through dance that engages the audience. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments as the lovers pursue each other, with chaos caused by mischievous Puck and his master Oberon (Theseus).

The show looks amazing, with incredibly versatile sets designed by Duncan Hayler and costumes that contrasted the real world and dream scenes.