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Review: The magic of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Norwich Cathedral

PUBLISHED: 10:33 13 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:33 13 July 2019

Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral. 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' presented by The Lord Chamberlain's Men. Photograph: Norwich Cathedral / Bill Smith

Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral. 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' presented by The Lord Chamberlain's Men. Photograph: Norwich Cathedral / Bill Smith

Norwich Cathedral © 2019

Shakespeare's enchanting comedy of love, fantasy and reconciliation found its perfect backdrop in the cloisters of Norwich Cathedral.

Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral. 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' presented by The Lord Chamberlain's Men. Photograph: Norwich Cathedral / Bill SmithShakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral. 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' presented by The Lord Chamberlain's Men. Photograph: Norwich Cathedral / Bill Smith

Performed by the always brilliant Lord Chamberlain's Men, a sell-out 800 spectators were treated to two-hours of acting magic on Friday evening.

The stage is simple yet versatile, while the many changes into beautiful costumes by the seven all-male cast members are seamless to keep the plot running at a good pace.

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Maximilian Marston gives a powerful performance as Oberon and Theseus, while the best of the comedy comes from Alex Wilson as Peter Quince, James Camp as Bottom and Joshua Glenister as Snout.

Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral. 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' presented by The Lord Chamberlain's Men. Photograph: Norwich Cathedral / Bill SmithShakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral. 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' presented by The Lord Chamberlain's Men. Photograph: Norwich Cathedral / Bill Smith

It is common for A Midsummer Night's Dream to be performed in the open air; a July evening adds to the magic, but those productions tend to come with larger casts and a more complicated stage.

Here the simplicity gives the production its authenticity.

The scenes of love and anger are powerful, while the same actors turn without pause into a hilarious slapstick performance of a play within a play for the marriages in the final scenes.

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