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A picture of royalty in the story of midsummer nights dream

Reviewed by Jennifer Shennan Truly, madly, deeply … If I were to list all the good things about this pedigree production, it would amount to a catalogue of joy.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

And what would be wrong with that? Ethan Stiefel, previous artistic director of RNZB, certainly knew what he was about when he invited Liam Scarlett to choreograph this full-length work, and negotiated a co-production with Queensland Ballet.

By all accounts that collaboration has worked very well, so might set a happy precedent for future co-productions. All those in favour…? The work only premiered last year yet is already a classic. With motifs for many characters ingeniously set for string, woodwind and brass sections, plus of course the quijada jawbone of an assGaynor creates a seamless accompaniment.

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He also returns to conducts the excellent Orchestra Wellington. This is ballet musicianship at its best.

This is a young but obviously hugely talented choreographer. You hear his every thought as it motivates his every gesture, charging the role with real theatrical power that makes Oberon the central role to the entire ballet in a way new since the premiere season last year.

Tonia Looker is a gorgeous, romantic Titania, quick to claim the Changeling child, swift to fall in love. Her adoration of Bottom the Ass is quite something to behold. The band of ten Fairies shimmering and quivering in spiky blue tutus are as mercurial as the creatures they evoke. Shaun Kelly as the dazzling irrepressible Puck is stunning in his role of wicked mischief-maker. The Lovers are played with great spirit—by Kirby Selchow and Joseph Skelton, with some deeply lyrical dancing, and by Abigail Boyle and Paul Mathews, masters of comic timing.

The Rustics are a hoot and they know it. Royal New Zealand Ballet. The audience erupts in delight, and Shakespeare the librettist would have been well pleased. Take care in shady places. Puck is probably lurking.

  1. James theatre wine-bar seems not to know how to uncork bureaucracy and pour a glass of bubbly for the happy punters.
  2. Demetrius wakes and he too falls in love with Helena. Although he already is to play the role of Pyramus, Bottom thinks he should play the lion and Thisby as well.
  3. Hippolyta asserts, "This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard" 214 , but Theseus is more forgiving. Demetrius comes running through the forest pursued by Helena who cannot keep up the chase.

There are many warps and wefts of New Zealand and Australia that weave the dancers from the two countries together, and the more you look the more you find. A mix of Oberon and Puck, that man. The best big company, for my money, is Hamburg Ballet.

The plot: A Midsummer Night

James theatre wine-bar seems not to know how to uncork bureaucracy and pour a glass of bubbly for the happy punters. Another job for Puck perhaps?

A Midsummer Night

Jennifer Shennan, 28 November 2016 Featured image: