Intermission Youth Theatre (IYT) has put on a unique adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s much-loved plays, A Midsummer’s Night Dream. 

Credit: Rakiya Hasan

MSND is a retelling of the Shakespearean classic with a contemporary twist. The show begins with the audience learning about the new drug on the block called ‘MSND’. Once taken, it is believed to grant the ability to speak Shakespeare’s text. Although it is a reimagining, the production stays true to the original story.

Puck, one of the fairies, begins using MSND to interfere with the human characters leading to confusion, conflict, and chaos! Various plots are cleverly interlinked as we watch the impact the drug has on the character’s relationships and events. I appreciated that the script uses a blend of Middle English and modern-day London speech. Our characters passionately recite classic lines from the playwright’s other famous literature, which fits nicely with the storyline.

The cast are very enthusiastic and incredibly funny! The delivery of lines (and the occasional adlibs) feels natural. Their comedic timing impressed me too, with several laugh-out-loud moments. Oberon (Christopher Mbaki) and Puck (Tane Armachie Siah) stood out for their wonderful chemistry. In addition, I enjoyed the dialogue between the two characters, as they questioned the meaning of their friendship. It was such a nice balance to see the actors go from the jokers to a more sensitive side. Despite Puck’s constant meddling with the humans, we couldn’t help but smile whenever they entered the scene. Whether that was through dancing or interacting with the audience, their stage presence certainly lit up the space.

On the topic of lights, designer Julian McCready executed the lighting wonderfully, with soft pink lighting indicating the moments our characters were in an ‘MSND trance’. Which was perfectly-timed with the dialogue. I did wish that the music transitions were as smooth; in some cases, the music began or ended abruptly. Nonetheless, the musical choices had me dancing in my seat. I never thought I’d hear Afrobeats, Grime and Noughties R&B in a Shakespeare play – but it worked!

Credit: Rakiya Hasan

The comedy picked up in Act Two, as we had more dance routines and audience interaction. Some of the cast’s positioning could have been neater, however, as the show went on, I liked how they made use of the entire space. Delyth Evan’s set blends elements of a forest and a playground, with leaves along a brick wall, colourful wooden posts and blocks, that the actors use to move across the stage.

A subtle but significant choice to use this story to highlight substance misuse and its impact. Whether that was a loss of friendship or a relationship breakdown, as the story went on, we see this was all a result of Puck’s ‘MSND’ interference.

Overall, ‘MSND’ is a brilliant, unique interpretation of a classic play. This young cast has such infectious energy and talent shone amongst them all. I cannot wait to see what they do next!

The charity, Intermission Youth, helps transform the lives of disadvantaged young people through drama. The work that IYT is doing is admirable. If you’re like me, unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s works, go and check this production out!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

2 Star Review 3 Star Review 4 Star Review 5 Star Review 2022 2023 Adaptation Almeida Cabaret Camden Fringe Cast Announcement Christmas Comedy Dance Drag Edinburgh Fringe Edinburgh Fringe Interviews Fringe Immersive Interviews Jukebox Musical LGBTQIA+ Lyric Hammersmith Manchester Musical New Musical News New Wimbledon Theatre North West Off West End Park Theatre Play Review Revival Richmond Theatre Round Up Royal Court Theatre Shakespeare Show Announcement Show Recommendations Soho Theatre Southwark Playhouse Touring Production VAULT Festival West End

    Spine-tingling yet heart-warming, Mark Gatiss’s retelling of A Christmas Carol truly encapsulates the haunting atmosphere of a Victorian ghost story, balanced out with enough humour so as to capture the festive season. Led by Keith Allen as Scrooge, with Peter Forbes as Marley, this show is perfect for Christmas viewing. The set design by Paul Wills is instantly captivating, containing stacks of metal cabinets towering over the theatre, moveable by the cast to allow space for other central props like doors, beds and tables. In addition to this, the puppetry design by Matthew Forbes is incredibly clever, adding creepy elements to the show such … More A CHRISTMAS CAROL – REVIEW – ALEXANDRA PALACE
    The title of this winner of Theatre 503’s 2023 International Playwriting Award by Roxy Cook may seem like the set-up to a joke, but the narrative that unspools is instead an affectionate, gently barbed and at base quite sobering portrait of three ordinary souls (and one restless feline) adrift in modern Moscow. There is much affable, satirical back-and-forth commentary on the accepted myths & stereotypes of the Russian spirit & soul. Beset by the indignities of age, opportunism, graft, fatigue, the characters orbit one another, doomed to play out their roles in an unjust, predatory and saturnine universe. The play opens … More A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK – REVIEW – THEATRE503
    Peter Pan Goes Wrong first premiered in London at the Pleasance Theatre in 2013, and earlier this year the show made its Broadway debut. Now the production is back in the West End for the Christmas season. Following on from The Play That Goes Wrong, in this production, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is staged by the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society and goes awry, disastrously so. The meta-comedy is filled with slapstick comedy, sometimes the humour may be predictable and silly, but it’s universally funny throughout – there is something for everyone here, and the laughs come thick and fast … More PETER PAN GOES WRONG – REVIEW – LYRIC THEATRE
    Drawing heavily from the classic canon of the British supernatural, High Tide’s trio of contemporary Gothic narratives uses traditional storytelling formats to address contemporary themes. Directed by Elayce Ismail, reverent musical interludes accompany tales of apparitions and nighttime conjurings that speak of women from the East of England. Unfortunately, the effect is less chilling and more lightweight, with conventional structures, predictable plot twists and an over-reliance on external forces to drive narrative shoring up some of the less relatable aspects of the genre. Nicola Werenowska’s The Beach House, perhaps the cleanest of the three tales, tells of a mother and … More GHOST STORIES BY CANDLELIGHT – REVIEW – SAM WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE
    Drum roll please…(Cue a literal drum rolling across the stage.) The Lyric pantomime is one of traditions with the return of many well-loved jokes and skits. Costumes and sets are all made at the Lyric itself by Good Teeth, with set pieces being reused year on year. This year Cinderella gets the Hammersmith makeover, with some success. The costuming is fun and vibrant, with the ugly stepsisters’ equine pyjamas and hoop-skirted ball gowns giving all the wrong kinds of extra you need for those characters. Cinderella’s on stage dress transformation is magical and really well-timed. The Dame, Lady Jelly-Bottom’s, outfits … More CINDERELLA – REVIEW – LYRIC HAMMERSMITH

Leave a Reply