Kirra, Coolangatta and Tweed Heads

Julie Dixon
Tuesday 10 June 2014

A Mid Summer Night’s Dream

Murwillumbah Players Pack the House for Fabulous Fairytale Comedy

Cast and crew of Murwillumbah Theatre Company wrapped up a stellar production over the weekend as they took their final bows in the company's first ever full-blown Shakespearean production.
Four hundred years on, the bard would have been thrilled with this troupe of local players who flawlessly and magnificently delivered his famous comedy to the enchantment of packed audiences at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre Auditorium with 8 performances over a 3-week run.
The ensemble cast of new-comers and experienced actors alike, aged from 16 to 75, kept the audience enthralled with this tale of forest fairies who wreck havoc with their magic herb juice before sorting out the human love tangle and seeing it through to its happy conclusion of starry-eyed nuptials.
The world famous Wedding March, and other incidental music from Mendelssohn, uplifted the evening which began with a foyer overture of flute and harp performances. According to director, Lydia Plim, the connection came about quite by chance as the cast delivered a flashmob performance in the streets that caught the attention of local classical musicians who were soon persuaded to join the show. A local choir joined in the merriment.
Standout performances were many, with Uki local, Yasir Assam’s mischievous fairy Puck, providing one of the stellar acting feats of the night.  A first-timer to Shakespeare, Yasir joined the production after searching online and finding his local theatre company was about to tackle the popular classic and was calling for auditions.
The two leading ladies were a delight to behold. NIDA graduate, Rachael Gorham (as Helena) and opera singer Melanie Smart (as Hermia) gave polished Shakespearean performances that no doubt rubbed off on their young opposites (Mark Long as Lysander and Reuben Mitchell as Demetrius) and uplifted the calibre of the whole production.
This was a community-spirited venture at its best that saw local actors test their talents on the weighty roles. Stokers Siding tree-changer, David Sunter, gave an assured performance as Duke Theseus, as did Colin Elliot as Nick Bottom leading his troupe of brilliantly played mechanical thesbians whose dreams are realized when they get to put on their nonsensical burlesque of a play at the Duke’s wedding – as Pyramus, Thisbe, the lion, the wall, and moonshine – all thankfully oblivious to the less than enamoured asides of the Duke and his noble courtiers.  Trudy Edgar gave a lively performance as the fairy queen, Titania, who is wickedly tricked into falling in love with Bottom, the ass-headed weaver.
The evening flew along as the talented cast kept us riveted to every word, performed exactly as written the bard, thought to be around 1594.  At $15 a ticket, this was one of the best pieces of entertainment on the coast, and, according to the company, the first time a full production of one of Shakespeare's major works has been performed in the region.
Director Lydia Plim had every reason to be thrilled with the outcome, "We can now say, we've done a Shakespeare work and we've done it well. Thanks to the expert mentoring of Assistant Director, Bryanne Jardine, and with the support and hard work of the members of MTC my vision and passion to bring Shakespeare to our local community has been realised."
Congratulations Lydia and the Murwillumbah Theatre Company.  Thank you for a magical night!