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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Words: Robert Parker-White

3 Stars

The Handlebards troupe of four instantly wins over the audience with their charming tale of cycling across the country’s length and breadth as part of their annual summer tour. A two-day stop at the Fringe before they continue their journey up the country; they must be mad! Their Fringe venue – the unique, open air Tree House that looks out over George Square Gardens. A refreshing experience for audiences away from dark tightly packed studio theatres.  

Brimming with Handlebard’s signature multi-rolling, engaging audience interactions, and enchanting folk-inspired choral singing, this company takes us on a Shakespearean fast-paced, humorous ride. Their venue presents a unique challenge, as they strive to make their voices heard amidst the chatter from George Square and the ever-growing wind. Though, George Attwell Gerhards deserves a special mention for anchoring the storytelling with his grounded performance in spite of the elements.

However, while the overall experience is enjoyable, there are moments when the delivery loses its clarity and too much frantic energy takes over, causing the audience to momentarily lose track of the story. Being two-thirds into their tour, it’s possible that some jokes have lost their punch, leaving us slightly out of the loop. 

The singing is undoubtedly a highlight, with Guy Hughes’ excellent score adding a delightful layer to the performance. Although A Midsummer Night’s Dream remains fun and engaging, there’s a sense of disappointment as it lacks the same level of confidence that previous Handlebards productions have showcased.

An enjoyable experience that offers a unique take on Shakespeare with its own blend of charm and energy. Ride on!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Assembly George Square Gardens, Tree House
19-20 Aug
1 hour 40 minutes


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