Saw the wicked fairies last night. Midsummer Night’s Dream, STC at the Opera House. Flippin’ marvellous. Somehow they managed to out-70s the 70s (or was it early 80s) production I once saw, which left such a lasting impression on a young gel, which is pretty damn amazing, though it helps if you’ve got Bruce Spence in the cast. Lots of knobs and nudity and welcome back Sydney theatre, how I’ve missed you.
The blatant and savage sexuality was deliberate, to underline the cruelty in the play, the women threatened with death and date raped by men who see them as nothing but property and/or a means to an end, a take of the play that has razor sharp focus this week, which made it even more electrifying.
So we had freakish costumes on your bog standard bare stage, strobing and music (which was perfect, btw, and the second time this week I’ve seem 50s music used to sinister intent, no wonder young Matthew Backer was getting David Lynch vibes off the piece).
The casting was great. When I saw Matthew Backer as Aerial, I knew he’d make a great Puck. I was right. Matthew Backer was the most perfect Puck ever, part cabaret host, part imp, naughty boy and delighting in chaos, so pleased with himself. And Josh McConville's Bottom, the riotous play within the play entirely making us forget his earlier terrors. Never has a death scene been so milked dry (dry being ironic given the blood being sprayed about to comedic effect). Theatre’s gain is a great loss to sword and sandal flicks, given his over-the-top-and around-the-other-side performance as Pyramus (too bad Thor has wrapped in BrisVegas).
The cast, perfect, the staging, dark and the stuff of nightmares, the highlighted themes of sexual cruelty running true this week.
Btw, quite the night for celeb spotting. Hell, we had the director (yay, Kip) and an ex-Premier I loathe and detest in our row, + many more. That ex-Premier stomped on my foot, like the ruthless ruling class sod he is. Luckily I was wearing my DMs, like the proper working class gal I am.
Enjoyed the whole evening, crispy sweet potato chips and a Sydney Sling in the bar (with a view of the bridge) especially (though paying for it now and deadlines to keep).
Meanwhile I overheard someone mutter ‘not bigger on the inside’ re another game of sardines in the lift. Hey, maybe the odd spot of Doctor Who cosplay from the upper levels (joyless policy wonks) isn’t my fevered imagination. I always think I’m the only one in the room who watches telly, because it’s usually true. It’s always so condescending, that I watch. Yeah, what have I learnt from telly?
Oh, nothing much, just how to face death, methods for coping with betrayal, fear and cruelty, what not to do in the office, how to game a stationery order (thank you, Radar), the history of economic exploitation, philosophical explorations of what it means to be good, why bad boys are bad for your health and why you should say yes more often than you say no. That do fer starters?