19th Aug, 2017

At less than half price is not Bard - Shakespeare on the fringe

Imogen Buller 28th Jul, 2017 Updated: 2nd Aug, 2017

WITH tickets at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at up to £50 a go, seeing the Bard’s work live on stage can be a costly business.

Step forward The Civil Brawl Theatre Company, charging a more than reasonable £10 in the ‘Fringe’ venue of upstairs in a cocktail bar.

The punters like it too as they’re playing to a full house.

An added bonus is that it features Redditch rising star Loretta Hope, in one of the two key central roles, as the mischievous fairy Puck.

The play of course is an absolute joy and the players, on a bare stage, attack it with gusto.

The four star crossed lovers – Kirsty Ford’s Hermia, Louis Osborne’s Lysander, Hannah Perrin’s Helena and Tim Atkinson’s Demetrius – are all excellent and the fight scene between the two men is particularly hilarious.

Perrin also packs quite a punch, as three of the characters discover to their cost!

Loretta Hope meanwhile is rather wonderful as the sprite Puck while Jason Rivers in the combined role of Theseus and Oberson excels.

Where the production suffers is in Mike Bower’s playing of Bottom.

Alongside Puck a central figure in the play, Bower strips away the subtly and innocence of the character and instead turns him into an over-blown, over-arching fool.

It’s a pity as it mars an otherwise excellent production for a company that deserves fulsome applause.

Ross Crawford

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