Review; A Midsummer Night’s Deam

Review; A Midsummer Night’s Deam

A Midsummer Night's Dream

One of Shakespeare’s most captivating comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, sees the return of Eleanor Rhode who was last at the RSC in 2019 directing King John.

And what she and her creative team have creative is, in my opinion, one of the best productions to come out of Stratford’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

They have managed to adapt and improve on what is one the most performed of the Bard’s plays, finding new relevance and energy.

One of Shakespeare’s most captivating comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, sees the return of Eleanor Rhode who was last at the RSC in 2019 directing King John.And what she and her creative team have orchestrated is, in my opinion, one of the best productions to come out of Stratford’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
They have managed to adapt and improve on what is one the most performed of the Bard’s plays, finding new relevance and energy.
Four young lovers, faced with the prospect of unhappy marriage or worse, flee the court of Athens and stumble into an enchanted forest. Nearby, a group of amateur actors rehearse a play to celebrate an upcoming royal wedding.
As these mere mortals cross paths with a warring fairy King and Queen, chaos reigns in the natural world. The lines between reality and illusion start to blur and no-one but mischievous Puck knows what is true and what is magic.
Much has been made of Bottom being played by Mathew Baynton, loved for his roles in Ghosts and Horrible Histories and, indeed, his performance does this iconic Shakespeare character more than justice. He prances around the stage in his underpants and transforms into a donkey, becoming the object of infatuation for the Queen of the Fairies, with comedic aplomb. But I’m delighted to report that the rest of the cast more than deiver
Joining the previously announced Mathew Baynton as Bottom are Nicholas Armfield as Demetrius, Emily Cundick as Snout, Bally Gill as Oberon/Theseus, Esme Hough as Cobweb, Ryan Hutton as Lysander, Charlotte Jaconelli as Peaseblossom, Laurie Jamieson as Snug, Neil McCaul as Egeus, Helen Monks as Peter Quince, Michael Olatunji as Moth, Adrian Richards as Philostrate, Boadicea Ricketts as Helena, Sirine Saba as Titania/Hippolyta, Rosie Sheehy as Puck, Dawn Sievewright as Hermia, Mitesh Soni as Flute, Premi Tamang as Starveling and Tom Xander as Mustardseed.
The special effects, from Matt Daw’s lighting through to John Bulleid’s illusions, create a sense of magic and mystery that draw us in from the opening scene. The stunning visuals and technical trickery play no small part on the show’s undenial  success.
Stand our scene for me is the play within a play, the most satirical interpretation of Romeo and Juliet that has us hooked. The audience were hysterical.
A midsummer’s Night’s Dream plays until 30th and  Visit: https://www.rsc.org.uk/H
Royal Shakespeare Company | RSC
Photo by Pamela Raith

Four young lovers, faced with the prospect of unhappy marriage or worse, flee the court of Athens and stumble into an enchanted forest. Nearby, a group of amateur actors rehearse a play to celebrate an upcoming royal wedding.

As these mere mortals cross paths with a warring fairy King and Queen, chaos reigns in the natural world. The lines between reality and illusion start to blur and no-one but mischievous Puck knows what is true and what is magic.

Much has been made of Bottom being played by Mathew Baynton, loved for his roles in Ghosts and Horrible Histories and, indeed, his performance does this iconic Shakespeare character more than justice. He prances around the stage in his underpants and transforms into a donkey, becoming the object of infatuation for the Queen of the Fairies, with comedic aplomb. But I’m delighted to report that the rest of the cast more than deiver

One of Shakespeare’s most captivating comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, sees the return of Eleanor Rhode who was last at the RSC in 2019 directing King John.And what she and her creative team have orchestrated is, in my opinion, one of the best productions to come out of Stratford’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
They have managed to adapt and improve on what is one the most performed of the Bard’s plays, finding new relevance and energy.
Four young lovers, faced with the prospect of unhappy marriage or worse, flee the court of Athens and stumble into an enchanted forest. Nearby, a group of amateur actors rehearse a play to celebrate an upcoming royal wedding.
As these mere mortals cross paths with a warring fairy King and Queen, chaos reigns in the natural world. The lines between reality and illusion start to blur and no-one but mischievous Puck knows what is true and what is magic.
Much has been made of Bottom being played by Mathew Baynton, loved for his roles in Ghosts and Horrible Histories and, indeed, his performance does this iconic Shakespeare character more than justice. He prances around the stage in his underpants and transforms into a donkey, becoming the object of infatuation for the Queen of the Fairies, with comedic aplomb. But I’m delighted to report that the rest of the cast more than deiver
Joining the previously announced Mathew Baynton as Bottom are Nicholas Armfield as Demetrius, Emily Cundick as Snout, Bally Gill as Oberon/Theseus, Esme Hough as Cobweb, Ryan Hutton as Lysander, Charlotte Jaconelli as Peaseblossom, Laurie Jamieson as Snug, Neil McCaul as Egeus, Helen Monks as Peter Quince, Michael Olatunji as Moth, Adrian Richards as Philostrate, Boadicea Ricketts as Helena, Sirine Saba as Titania/Hippolyta, Rosie Sheehy as Puck, Dawn Sievewright as Hermia, Mitesh Soni as Flute, Premi Tamang as Starveling and Tom Xander as Mustardseed.
The special effects, from Matt Daw’s lighting through to John Bulleid’s illusions, create a sense of magic and mystery that draw us in from the opening scene. The stunning visuals and technical trickery play no small part on the show’s undenial  success.
Stand our scene for me is the play within a play, the most satirical interpretation of Romeo and Juliet that has us hooked. The audience were hysterical.
A midsummer’s Night’s Dream plays until 30th and  Visit: https://www.rsc.org.uk/H
Royal Shakespeare Company | RSC
Photo by Pamela Raith

Joining the previously announced Mathew Baynton as Bottom are Nicholas Armfield as Demetrius, Emily Cundick as Snout, Bally Gill as Oberon/Theseus, Esme Hough as Cobweb, Ryan Hutton as Lysander, Charlotte Jaconelli as Peaseblossom, Laurie Jamieson as Snug, Neil McCaul as Egeus, Helen Monks as Peter Quince, Michael Olatunji as Moth, Adrian Richards as Philostrate, Boadicea Ricketts as Helena, Sirine Saba as Titania/Hippolyta, Rosie Sheehy as Puck, Dawn Sievewright as Hermia, Mitesh Soni as Flute, Premi Tamang as Starveling and Tom Xander as Mustardseed.

The special effects, from Matt Daw’s lighting through to John Bulleid’s illusions, create a sense of magic and mystery that draw us in from the opening scene. The stunning visuals and technical trickery play no small part on the show’s undenial  success.

One of Shakespeare’s most captivating comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, sees the return of Eleanor Rhode who was last at the RSC in 2019 directing King John.And what she and her creative team have orchestrated is, in my opinion, one of the best productions to come out of Stratford’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
They have managed to adapt and improve on what is one the most performed of the Bard’s plays, finding new relevance and energy.
Four young lovers, faced with the prospect of unhappy marriage or worse, flee the court of Athens and stumble into an enchanted forest. Nearby, a group of amateur actors rehearse a play to celebrate an upcoming royal wedding.
As these mere mortals cross paths with a warring fairy King and Queen, chaos reigns in the natural world. The lines between reality and illusion start to blur and no-one but mischievous Puck knows what is true and what is magic.
Much has been made of Bottom being played by Mathew Baynton, loved for his roles in Ghosts and Horrible Histories and, indeed, his performance does this iconic Shakespeare character more than justice. He prances around the stage in his underpants and transforms into a donkey, becoming the object of infatuation for the Queen of the Fairies, with comedic aplomb. But I’m delighted to report that the rest of the cast more than deiver
Joining the previously announced Mathew Baynton as Bottom are Nicholas Armfield as Demetrius, Emily Cundick as Snout, Bally Gill as Oberon/Theseus, Esme Hough as Cobweb, Ryan Hutton as Lysander, Charlotte Jaconelli as Peaseblossom, Laurie Jamieson as Snug, Neil McCaul as Egeus, Helen Monks as Peter Quince, Michael Olatunji as Moth, Adrian Richards as Philostrate, Boadicea Ricketts as Helena, Sirine Saba as Titania/Hippolyta, Rosie Sheehy as Puck, Dawn Sievewright as Hermia, Mitesh Soni as Flute, Premi Tamang as Starveling and Tom Xander as Mustardseed.
The special effects, from Matt Daw’s lighting through to John Bulleid’s illusions, create a sense of magic and mystery that draw us in from the opening scene. The stunning visuals and technical trickery play no small part on the show’s undenial  success.
Stand our scene for me is the play within a play, the most satirical interpretation of Romeo and Juliet that has us hooked. The audience were hysterical.
A midsummer’s Night’s Dream plays until 30th and  Visit: https://www.rsc.org.uk/H
Royal Shakespeare Company | RSC
Photo by Pamela Raith

Stand our scene for me is the play within a play, the most satirical interpretation of Romeo and Juliet that has us hooked. The audience were hysterical.

A midsummer’s Night’s Dream plays until 30th and  Visit here

 

Rob Beckett brings brand new tour to Birmingham and Coventry

Rob Beckett brings brand new tour to Birmingham and Coventry

Rob Beckett, one of the country’s finest comedians, is back on UK tour in 2024!  He’ll be out on the road, and heading to Birmingham and Coventry en route!

Star of the consistently chart-topping podcast Parenting Hell, Sky’s Rob And Romesh Vs and Celebs Go Dating, Rob will bring his brand new show to Birmingham Hippodrome on March 29th 2025 and Warwick Arts Centre on November 22nd.

Rob said: ‘This is gonna be a big old tour. It’ll be tough being away from the family for a while. Don’t get me wrong I love my children/podcast content providers but I do also enjoy a lie in and a hotel buffet breakfast.  So I’m sure I’ll cope. I expect to put on about three stone from takeaways and drinking after the shows.”

Rob Beckett burst onto the comedy circuit 15 years ago and hasn’t looked back since. He’s a Sunday Times Bestselling author and hosts his very own BBC Radio 2 Show. As well as Sky’s Rob And Romesh Vs, which he does with fellow comedian and best mate Romesh Ranganathan, the pair have also co-hosted The Royal Variety Performance – the first time two comedians had hosted the event together in over 30 years – and The BAFTA TV Awards 2023. Rob’s very own Sky show Rob Beckett’s Smart TV will air from February.

Rob can also be heard alongside his other comedy pal, Josh Widdicombe hosting their highly successful podcast Parenting Hell, interviewing fellow parents on their successes (or most likely failures) at parenting.  With over 250 million downloads, guests have included: George Foreman, Katherine Ryan, Jonathan Ross, Jack Dee and many more. In 2023, the podcast hit the road on the Parenting Hell Live arena tour, playing to sold out arenas up and down the nation. The pair even co-wrote the Sunday Times Bestselling book Parenting Hell, a first-hand account of the challenges and chaos of their parenting journeys.

This wasn’t the first Sunday Times Bestselling book for Rob. 2021 saw him pen A Class Act, which is his autobiographical account of being working class in the middle-class world of television and comedy. At work he’s the Cockney geezer, but to his mates down the pub in south-east London, he’s the theatrical one – a media luvvy. Even his wife and kids are posher than him!

This year also sees Rob host his brand new Sky panel show Rob Beckett’s Smart TV, a hilarious celebration of the shows we love. Each week big-name actors, comics, presenters and personalities join Rob, Alison Hammond and Josh Widdicombe to battle it out in a series of chaotic, trivia-infused rounds to discover who knows the most about TV.

Rob’s relatable and honest approach to comedy has also seen him host Children in Need and Comic Relief. Other TV shows include multiple appearances on BBC One’s Live At The Apollo, Would I Lie To You?, The Graham Norton Show, All Round Mrs Browns, Michael McIntyres Big Show, QI, Sky One’s A League of Their Own, Channel 4’s 8 Out of 10 Cats and Cats Does CountdownThe Jonathan Ross Show, ITV Two’s Celebrity Juice, and Dave’s Taskmaster, and Hypothetical.

Britain’s Got Talent’s BIG Sing to headline at charity gala concert in Rugby

Britain’s Got Talent’s BIG Sing to headline at charity gala concert in Rugby

BGT, Rugby Dunsmore Gala Concert

]Community choir The BIG Sing, which shot to fame on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, are set to headline at this year’s Gala Charity Concert, in Rugby.

The concert, organised by Rugby Dunsmore Rotary Club and Friends of The Hospital of St Cross, returns on March 10th, for the first time since the pandemic brought the curtain down on their 2021 plans.

Proceeds from the night, which is being sponsored by F Geo Robinson Ltd of Coventry and McCarthy Stone, will go to support three local charities – The Friends of the Hospital of St Cross, Shine A Light and New Directions Rugby.

BGT, The BIG Sing, Rugby Dunsmore Rotary
Big Sing Directors Gemma & Howard Francis

The Friends of St Cross donates equipment and supports projects which improve the experience of patients attending the hospital. Visit here.

President of The Friends, Willy Goldschmidt, said: “We are most grateful for the support we have received from Rugby Dunsmore Rotary over the last 10 years.  Thanks to them and the community in Rugby we were able to spend £167,000 last year buying equipment which improved the experience of patients or brought NHS hospital services closer to the town.”

Rugby Dunsmore Rotary Club’s Mike Folly said: “It is great to be back in partnership supporting The Friends of St Cross and our other charities by organising this evening.

BGT, The BIG Sing, Rugby Dunsmore Rotary

“We believe everyone has missed the excitement of these mass band and choir events and to be back raising the roof of this iconic venue at Rugby School will stir hearts and create a real feel-good factor for the people of Rugby. Just one of the things we like to do in Rugby Dunsmore Rotary Club.”

Rugby-based The BIG Sing are joined by The Band of Central England – formerly the Jaguar Land Rover Band – for the fourth curtain-raiser – at which they’ll perform a range of pop, gospel, soul and inspirational songs.

The choir, which has members aged between three and 83, won four ‘yesses’ from the judges following their televised audition on at the Britain’s Got Talent quarter-finals last year. They have also performed alongside such names as Mica Paris, David Grant and Ellie Goulding and have toured with Leona Lewis.

BGT, The BIG Sing, Rugby Dunsmore Rotary

Big Sing manager Bernie Dawson explained: “Uniting communities with uplifting and motivating music, inspired by gospel music and teaching, The BIG Sing is more than a choir; we are a ‘family’. So many members have found the choir to help them through loneliness, depression, grief, illness and have given them two hours a week to find ‘them’ again. The choirs have been growing from strength to strength in number and ability, showing the members that together we CAN achieve greatness.

“The choir is working hard to show community singing at its best. The members are people from the local community who have a desire to sing. The BIG Sing gives them the opportunity to be taught by expert tutors, turning the choir into an amazing sound and giving them unique performance opportunities.”

Shine A Light, in Rugby, delivers valuable support services and a community for children and young people with cancer, up to the age of 24, and their families in Coventry and Warwickshire. Visit here.

BGT, The BIG Sing, Rugby Dunsmore Rotary

New Directions Rugby supports people with learning disabilities and their families and carers to lead a full and valued life and works in a real partnership with them. Visit here

Paul Tolley, CEO of New Directions, said: “As a local charity supporting over 100 vulnerable adults on a daily basis to live life to the full, it is fantastic to receive support and recognition from fundraising events such as this which help us to raise our profile, increase the number of people we support and reach a greater number of families.”

This year’s charity gala takes place at The Temple Speech Room, in Rugby, from 7.30pm. Bar and doors open at 7pm. Tickets cost £16 and are available to purchase by visiting here. Any remaining tickets will be available for £18 on the door.

Rotary

Rotary is a worldwide association of local clubs, for men and women in business or the professions who: provide service to the community at local, national and international level; encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and work for goodwill and peace in the world.

More about the sponsors

F Geo Robinson Ltd is a business trading in new and replacement roof windows in Coventry and the surrounding areas. They are partnered with VELUX and ROTO Frank roof. They chose to sponsor the concert in support of the NHS and as part of their celebrations of 100 years since the company was founded.

 McCarthy Stone have recently opened a superb Retirement Living PLUS development in attractive Bilton road, Rugby which includes 27 one bedroom and 35 two-bedroom retirement apartments for sale – exclusively for the over 70s, and all sharing communal facilities within a gated community.

ALSO24 Festival early line-up announcement for Warwickshire

ALSO24 Festival early line-up announcement for Warwickshire

ALSO24 Festival, Compton Verney

Leading lights in the worlds of music, comedy, wellness and food and nature, are among those this week announced as part of Warwickshire’s ALSO24 Festival – celebrating this year’s theme of Heavenly Bodies.

Indie folk band Stornoway and comedian Sara Pascoe, head the impressive line-up  for the UK’s most inspirational summer festival, once again taking place at Compton Verney.

Marking its eleventh year, ALSO24, on the weekend of July 12-14th, brings together performers and musicians, best-selling authors, celebrated scientists and experts in a variety of fields to create a much-anticipated ‘magical and immersive experience.’

ALSO24 Festival, Compton Verney

Set in 50 acres of Capability Brown-landscaped and lakeside gardens, the event is billed as ‘a unique opportunity to reconnect with yourself and the world around you.’

Among those helping Stornoway set the stellar soundtrack for the summer are hotly-tipped Welsh singer-songwriter Edie Bens; experimental musician Jessica Winter; hip-hop funk and soul band Miya the Sun; Birmingham-based indie rock band Jet Black Orange; multi-instrumentalist James Walker and Latin and Brazilian-influenced soul and funk collective The Fontanas.

Dishing out the laughs alongside Sara Pascoe will be BAFTA-winning, best-selling writer and comedian Adam Kay; writer, broadcaster and satirist Nels Abbey; poet and novelist Salena Godden; TikTok sensation Marcel Lucont; and Rob Deering who puts some of the comedians on the spot in his live music-based comedy pop quiz – Beat This!

ALSO24 Festival, Compton Verney

As always, ALSO24 gives festival-goers the opportunity to embark on weird and wonderful adventures, from sound baths and lantern making workshops to the Venus and Adonis ‘Love is Love’ procession. Or join leading vocal coach Juliet Russell (ITV’s The Voice) ahead of the Saturday Night Spectacular.

Be at one with nature or join in with a huge programme of wellness activities such as laughter therapy, fitness workshops, a Zen Ten Spa, fire yoga, moon yoga or floating SUP yoga, go wild swimming, paddleboarding, try painting meditation, sauna. Or journey through nature on a Bat Walk or delve into the mysteries of the cosmos at Astrology in the Orrery.

While families can choose from den building, a mini big safari, rocket workshop, raft building, messy play, circus school and character comedy workshop. And, for the first time, mum and dad can even take full advantage of their time there courtesy of a new Festival Nanny service!

Hear from No. 1 Sunday Times Bestselling psychotherapist Philippa Perry – in her only UK festival appearance this summer – and rock-star classicist and bestselling writer Natalie Haynes who re-introduces us to the stories of Greek Goddesses the way they were intended.

Glimpse the divine beauty of space with quantum theorist Professor David Tong; scream into the void with behavioural economist Dr Pragya Agarwal; or learn how hip-hop artists rewrote the rules of business with former banker–turned–hip-hop journalist Nels Abbey.

ALSO24 Festival, Compton Verney

Discover the ways that astronomy has shaped civilisation with cosmologist Roberto Trotta, consider the next frontier (politics in space) with journalist Tim Marshall or explore the world of spirituality with bestselling author and journalist Catherine Nixey. Learn the science behind being social with award-winning journalist and author David Robson or make waves with a detailed look at longevity with Professor Sir Michael Marmot.

 Be inspired by nature writer and New York Times bestseller Charles Foster, social philosopher Roman Krznaric, lexicographer Sarah Ogilvie, champion swimmer Rebecca Achieng Ajulu-Bushell and best-selling children’s author Andy Stanton on his collaboration with AI.

When you’ve satisfied your appetite for knowledge there’s plenty to entice foodies too under the auspices of award-winning resident chef James Wheltor. He will be cooking up feasts and set lunches, featuring exclusive menus over the festival weekend.

ALSO24 Festival, Compton Verney

ALSO Festival’s Founder and Artistic Director, Helen Bagnall said: “Coming together to go wild in the wild each summer is what we humans are built to do and an essential part of a year lived well.

“ALSO is the next generation of festivals; highly immersive and truly experiential, with ideas threading through everything that we do.

“We make it effortless for our guests to engage with big, life-enhancing ideas and live a wild summer weekend in an extraordinary festival. So we are leaning in hard to the beauty in ourselves, in others, in the joy of festivals, the beauty of the site with our 2024 theme of ‘Heavenly Bodies’.”

Tier 1 Weekend Tickets (priced £137.50 for adults, £60 for children) and Day Tickets (from £20-£65) are now available here

Under 5s go free and there are concessions for those under 30 as well as family tickets.

Parking at ALSO is free but there are also a limited number of car passes available which allow vehicle access to the campsite. Campervan passes and Glamping options are also available.

ALSO24 Festival, Compton Verney

About ALSO Festival

ALSO is the annual festival where ideas run wild. An immersive escape set in divine surroundings, ALSO-land features eccentric, playful, thought-provoking programming. It’s a place to get involved, reflect, be inspired and experience ideas through creating, experiencing and experimenting.

Perfect for friends and family alike, ALSO is the place for a transformative weekend filled with quality time, wining and dining in nature with the promise of experiencing something new.

ALSO appears like a magical mirage for one July weekend only in a site borrowed from nature, fauna, beasts, birds, mini-beasts and trees who call it home year-round before disappearing. Everything is built to be designed for the longtime – sustainability is our middle name.

Plus ALSO is an escape from retail, you don’t need to buy things but to experience things we offer only things to do and experiences to book, we love to work and support any businesses or founders or companies that have similar ethics.

Blockbuster Banksy exhibition – a great alternative Valentine’s experience!

Blockbuster Banksy exhibition – a great alternative Valentine’s experience!

Photo by Ryan Howard

The Art of Banksy – the major London exhibition which has brought Banksy’s era defining works to over 1.5 million visitors in 15 cities across the globe – includes previously unseen artworks.

As the world’s largest collection of original and authenticated Banksy art showcasing more than 150 pieces including prints, canvases, unique works and fascinating ephemera, The Art of Banksy presents some extra special exhibits including a global exclusive – the first ever Flower Thrower.

The Art of Banksy, Regent Street, London

In 2003 Banksy unveiled Flower Thrower – also known as Love Is In The Air – for the first time, becoming one of the artist’s most recognizable works. However Banksy had already created an initial artwork in 1997, depicting a man throwing a bunch of flowers, as a Valentine’s Day gift for his then girlfriend.

This work has never been shown in public until now. The original Flower Thrower is on show together with information about the origins of the image and testimonies by the photographer who first captured the image that inspired Banksy not to mention the actual “flower thrower” himself!

The Art of Banksy, Regent Street, London

The second public debut is Mona Lisa. This signed but previously unknown work was originally bought directly from the artist by a Hollywood A-list actor in 2003. In 2022 it was returned to Banksy who developed the work further and created a brand-new artwork incorporating the original. Earlier this year it was sold to a collector who has agreed to lend it to The Art of Banksy collection for a limited time only.

The Art of Banksy, Regent Street, London

There are also seminal artworks that brought the infamously anonymous artist international notoriety such as Girl With Balloon in three different colour variations and Rude Copper, alongside truly one-off pieces including stencils created and used by the artist, hand drawn sketches and personal works that Banksy created for friends, associates and lovers. The exhibition also focusses on Banksy’s Dismaland, The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem and recent artworks acknowledging the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The Art of Banksy, Regent Street

New for London and for the first time, close associates of the artist share their personal stories giving unique insight into some of the world’s most famous images, engrossing background on how those headline-grabbing street art stunts were devised and how, with their irreverent wit and a biting political edge, this visionary took the art world by storm without ever revealing their identity.

The Art of Banksy is an unmissable show for anyone who wants to learn more about one of the world’s most important current artists and what their work reveals today; the power of art to affect social change, inspire the public and lay bare the undercurrents of social issues.

The exhibition moves on from its Regent Street venue after this week. But don’t fear, its new London location is due to be announced very soon. In the meantime, it would make a great alternative Valentine’s experience on Wednesday!

Watch this space: www.artofbanksy.co.uk