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3.9 out of 5 stars35
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 8 December 2004
This is an enchantig fairy-tale adaption of Shakespeare's comedy. Since it is performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, all actors are excellent (of course they are - it's the RSC!), but Alex Jennings as Oberon really stands out, he IS the fairy king. For 2 hours it transported me into another world, with fairies, enchanted woods, Amazons and Athenian noblemen. It is the most entertaining adaption of Shakespeare's play I have ever seen. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles, but I could still follow and enjoy it, even as a non-native English speaker.
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on 22 July 2004
I enjoyed this production. It was more than a studio recording of a staged play. The sets are very creative. The performances are lively. It is brings out the humor in the script very well. If you enjoy Shakespeare, this DVD is a great addition to a collection.
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on 19 January 2004
This interpretation of A Midsummer Night's Dream by the Royal Shakespeare Company is the best take on Shakespeare's play I have ever seen.
The simplicity of the film will suit young children who will be captivated by the movement whilst adults will find the different levels within the film interesting.
I thouroughly enjoyed it but the film also allows you to understand the text a little better. Perfect for A level theatre studies!!!
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on 4 August 2014
I have directed this play, been in it as Bottom and watched it many times.
This is the standard by which I judge all other productions of the play. Certainly it is the best adaptation of the play and of a stage production I have ever seen. It has a surreal quality - the forest of doors, or the fluffy fairies for instance. It quips about other films - the motorbike ride across the moon.... but the whole has exactly that uncertain balance between dark and light,death and life that makes the play so tantalising.
There are those who will gripe at Bottom not having an ass's head at any point; just a lot of hair, ears growing through his crash helmet Do not be put off! Be prepared to leave behind your troubles and enter a world where dreams come true!
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on 25 January 2015
By far the best interpretation of a Midsummer Night's Dream that I have seen. Wonderful cast, a bright but still dreamy colour palate, and much imaginative use of many light bulbs and umbrellas....
It works for audiences of all levels. My 12 year grasped the plot very easily and was chortling along, not just at the rude mechanicals but at the many other humorous sections either scripted or visual. He particularly loved the portrayal of Oberon and Puck, and he was right to do so. Desmond Barrit gives a suberb performance as Bottom and (though if watching with kids do be warned as in this production he is certainly the rudest of the rude mechanicals). In fact all of this particular squad of rude mechanicals are so good that you almost wish they could be given their own spin-out play/show.
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on 21 January 2008
I thought this production of A Midsummer Night's Dream was outstanding. Adrian Noble directs it with great visual flair and imagination. Alex Jennings is searingly sinister as Oberon, and Lindsay Duncan makes a formidable Titania. I also thought that Desmond Barrit was superb as Bottom. I enjoyed the "doubling up" of the players - as this adds to the strangeness of the piece, and would also have been something that Shakespeare's own company would have done. I thought the device (if that is what it was) of introducing a silent character, The Boy (who would have had to be on stage anyway, because he is mentioned in the text) and having him take us into the play, worked especially well. The whole production is colourful, rich, powerful and strange - just as it should be.

My one criticism is this: they should have remastered the print for the DVD release.
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on 6 June 2003
This is one of Shakespeare's plays put on video/DVD and it is a magical performance. This is suitable for children as well as adults as it has wonderful charaters and a real fantasy feeling.
The actors play their characters very well indeed. The main actors had dual roles so you couls see how the characters link together. e.g Alex Jennings plays Theseus king of Athens and also Oberon King of the fairies.
The scenery was beautiful and made the set seem like a place in real life. The costumes were designed delicately and colourfully.
This is a brilliant film that Shakeapeare would have been proud of.
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VINE VOICEon 3 August 2013
A most superfluous version

All the words are there. The pacing is appropriate. That is where it stops. From here the presentation deviates with an overlay of a minor observer that smirks as he views the scenes.

Only occasionally moving a play to a different time or place can it keep its magic? This presentation is of no real time or place but seems to have borrowed from the junk left over from previous plays, containing part stage and part Victorian England, with a dash of Alice in Wonderland.

Lots of nice color and music. However everyone goes around kissing everyone but the person they should be kissing; you can call it artistic license but I call it a distraction for the purpose or base story. For those people that do not like the introduction of bicycles and nudity as in another version, take heart as there is no nudity or bicycles. The bicycles are replaced with Mary Poppins type umbrellas. O.K I lied there is the E.T. bicycle scene, motorcycles with sidecars motorcycles.

Usually this tail is played out by well know actors so I must confess that even though this is the Royal Shakespeare Company production I do not recognize anyone.

One big missing part is where Nick Bottom is transferred into a donkey. Too bad as that is one of the best parts. He just pops put with ears and teeth. That is like showing Hamlet without Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

You need to watch any other production before this one as "Who would not change a raven for a dove?"

Lindsay Duncan as Hippolyta/Titania
Alex Jennings as Theseus/Oberon

Desmond Barrit as Nick Bottom
Barry Lynch as Puck/Philostrate

The Lovers:

Hermia - Monica Dolan
Demetrius - Kevin Doyle
Lysander - Daniel Evans
Helena - Emily Raymond

Egeus - Alfred Burke
The boy - Osheen Jones
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on 23 January 2014
This is an enjoyable version of the play - good fun all round. Quite surrealistic, as is the play itself, really.
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on 26 January 2006
I bought this version of A Midsummer Night's Dream to assist with writing my English degree essay. The production is visually colourful in its portrayal of the play. I think the characters are played to a very high standard. The staging of the mechanicals (the characters Quince, Bottom, Snug, and others) is a joy to behold being so animated. Puck (the assistant to the Fairy King) causes terrible trouble for the lovers Helena, Hermia, Lysander and Demetrius. This production takes the trouble to use features of the film: particularly interesting are its different camera angles. This is a very high standard production in my opinion and I believe that anyone with an interest in drama will take something from this version. It may interest the reader that some sections of the script are ommitted in this film. Also, in my opinion some parts of the film are unsuitable for young children.
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