Out on a farm stead in Sydney’s north west, Sport For Jove kick off its summer Shakespeare In The Park with a rallying rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream – equipped with shrieking bats, whistling winds and eerie shadows thrown in for free.
Sport For Jove has produced consistently good theatre all year rivaling (and sometimes one-upping) the work of Sydney’s most buoyant and famous companies like STC and Belvoir, and this production is no let down.
An energetic ensemble cast – with a standout performance by Jonathan Mill’s Bottom (pun cheekily unintended) – are well directed by Susanna Dowling, including fun dance and fight scenes by Lizzie Schebesta and Scott Witt respectively.
Shakespeare’s classic tale of romance and mischief takes place in a Sound of Music-esque Austrian military village – fully utilising Bella Vista Farm’s homestead façade as a barracks. The audience is then transported (literally) to a makeshift stage underneath a bunch of billowing trees that periodically drop their foliage onto actor’s heads – the closest thing Sydneysiders have to a forest.
This realistic setting provides the added magic touch to transport the production into an enchanting, unpredictable night out that has the entire audience in rapturous laughter. Getting pulled up onstage to join the wedding party in dancing to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off at curtain call doesn’t kill the fun factor, either.
Sydney Hills Shakespeare in the Park is a must-see event for any theatre-goer looking for a fun night out for the entire family. I will be trekking out again to see The Crucible because one Sport For Jove production just isn’t enough.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Bella Vista Farm, Baulkham Hills: Season continues to 30 December 2014
The Everglades Garden, Leura: 10 – 25 January 2015
For more information (including performance dates and times), visit: www.sportforjove.com.au for details.
Image: photo by Seiya Taguchi
Review: Maryann Wright
Maryann Wright is a performer and writer. She has a Diploma of Musical Theatre from Brent Street and a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) from The University of Sydney. Recent performance credits include Heart of a Dog (Australian premiere), Carrie (Squabbalogic) and Urinetown (Brent Street). Journalism credits include The Guardian, news.com.au and Girlfriend Magazine. www.maryannwright.com.au