Whammy Bar, St Kevin’s Arcade, K' Road, Auckland

27/02/2013 - 01/03/2013

Auckland Fringe 2013

Production Details


Produced by Point Blank Productions (Auckland), A Midsummer Mess is a fast moving comedy, frenetic in its physicality, swift in its use of Shakespeare’s story and downright ludicrous in its language. Kicking off on 27th February, This bold, breakneck version of Shakespeare’s classic quickly descends into a farce.

Set in the world of the Gods, A Midsummer Mess is a nearly never-ending story that begins with the nuptials of Theseus and Hippolyta. The entertaining mechanicals create worlds for their eternal pleasure. It may start off like Shakespeare but what came before only the Gods know.

Using only their skill and simple costume changes; three actors and three puppets adroitly play the twelve characters from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Stephen Lunt, who wrote the show, says: “If anyone thought Shakespeare was boring before, they certainly won’t think so after.”

Join the rollercoaster ride at Whammy Bar, St Kevins Arcade, Karangahape Rd. The show runs at 6.30 – 7.30pm on Wednesday 27th February, Thursday 28th February, Friday 1st March 2013. Entry is $15 and tickets can be bought from iticket.

Auckland Fringe runs from 15 February to 10 March 2013. For more Auckland Fringe information go to www.aucklandfringe.co.nz  

27th February – 1st March, 6:30pm
Duration: 1 hour
Venue: Whammy Bar, St Kevin’s Arcade, Karangahape Road
Tickets: $15
Bookings: iTicket – www.iticket.co.nz  or 09 361 1000 

1 hr

Unashamedly silly

Review by Anna Stillaman 28th Feb 2013

Written and directed by Stephen Lunt, A Midsummer Mess hurls three actors and four puppets through a twisted and balmy version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

The play promises to be fast moving and there’s no doubt that the actors are moving quickly.  Unfortunately, the audience are left bewildered.  I missed a lot of what was being said; it was all happening too fast. 

There is some excellent writing in Stephen Lunt’s script: play within a play stuff, twists on Shakespeare’s lines, witty modernisms – all of which should make this play excel.  Sadly, it just isn’t translating. 

What I do like about it is that it is unashamedly silly.  Hermia and Lysander are transformed into a lesbian couple, Demetrius is a Star Wars fanatic, Bottom is a guy with three bottoms, and Titania is a slovenly drunk.  Lunt also adds a sexy shower scene between Hermia, Helena and Puck (that disappointingly happens off stage, but then all the good bits in Shakespeare do). 

I enjoyed the use of puppets – Hermia as a hairy yellow southern belle being a particular highlight.  Unfortunately the puppetry overall isn’t really working for me; the skills in puppetry needs to be honed further in order to truly pull this off. 

The set is simple: a plain curtain behind which the actors change and emerge, which is also well utilised as a prop.  The three actors infuse the play with passion and energy, taking command of the constrained space.  Isaac White sleazes beautifully as a libertine Oberon.  Juleigh Parker comes into her own as sexy and inebriated Titania, and Jessica Walsh wins our hearts as sweetly screwed up Helena.

A Midsummer Mess is a comic spin on a comic play.  It seeks to be sillier than a play that is already absurd.  It cleverly twists dialogue that is already clever.  Overall I am left wondering what exactly it seeks to add.  But, the writing is good.  And the production has heart.  So, when the actors settle into their roles and the changeovers are tightened, the play has a chance of finding its feet. 


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