A Midsummer Night’s Droll is a show with a mission. It opens with an explanation of what a Droll actually is: a heavily cut adaptation of an early modern play performed illegally in pubs and back alleys during the 1640s when the theatres were closed and acting was made illegal. Scripts of thirty of these plays survive and The Owle Schreame are the first company to perform this bastardised version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in over 300 years.
“A Midsummer Night’s Droll is just really great fun”
It is a raucous and self-aware performance of the plot of Bottom the Weaver and the mechanical’s play full of shouting, multi-rolling, masks, songs and some fantastic puppet fairies constructed out of gourds. The few songs that enclose the action are energetically sung bawdy tavern jingles, setting the tone nicely for the mayhem of the plot. It’s telling that when Shakespeare’s name is partly removed from the position of author and the audience is told that these performances are not considered to be of literary importance but were performed for fun and against the law, more room is created for the audience to relax and enjoy the show without being bogged down by the expectation of finding early modern language difficult to understand.
The cast all gave strong, enjoyable performances. Particularly memorable was that of the mechanical playing the role of Wall, whose struggle to remain inanimate and subtle, persistent comical reactions contrasted well with the loud buffoonery of Nick Bottom. Pug (rather than Puck) also had a unique and slightly dark style of comedy that added variety and interest to the humour of the piece.
The Edinburgh Fringe is the perfect place to be reviving a seventeenth century Droll version of a Shakespeare’s play, equally hilarious and educational, A Midsummer Night’s Droll is just really great fun.
A Midsummer Night’s Droll is performing at theSpace on the Mile until August 25th (not 12th or 19th), tickets can be purchased here.
Image: the Owle Schreame
Enjoying our Content?
If you are, then we have a favour to ask. We need your help. We want to keep our content free and with minimal advertising. We also have an incredibly hard working team that we feel should be rewarded! You can donate now and help us continue to grow and keep producing more of the content you love.