Edward Hall's all-male Propeller Theatre Company will return to the West End this August when their new production of Shakespeare's endlessly popular A Midsummer Night's Dream arrives at the Comedy Theatre. Despite arriving a full six weeks after Midsummer's night, this intriguing take on Shakespeare's farce-in-the-forest looks set to provide some late season larks for West End audiences.
With its liberal smattering of fairies, love potions, bestiality and puns, A Midsummer Night's Dream remains one of Shakespeare's best loved comedies. According to the legend associated with the play, Shakespeare wrote it specifically for Queen Elizabeth I (although what she would have made of the fairy queen Titania sleeping with a donkey is anybody's guess...)
Every summer sees a new crop of Midsummer Night's Dreams arrive but Ed Hall's production stands out due to the Propeller Company's all-male status. The thought of men dressed as mules mating with men dressed as women dressed as fairies certainly adds a new twist to the arboreal shenanigans of the play.
This is the second visit by Edward Hall's company into the West End, following Rose Rage, adapted from Shakespeare's Henry VI plays, seen at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Ed Hall's previous West End project was his visceral production of Macbeth, starring Sean Bean and Samantha Bond, at the Albery Theatre, while he will also be directing Kenneth Branagh in Edmond at the National Olivier this summer.
The production first opened in February at the company's home venue, the Watermill Theatre in Newbury, where Hall has premiered Propeller's other Shakespearean productions. It is scheduled to open at the Comedy on August 7, with an initial booking period of ten weeks.