20-24th JUNE 2017
Directed by John Timewell
If you go down to the woods tonight, what big surprises will await you? Mischievous fairies and star-crossed lovers, comic labourers, an ass-headed monster and a hungry lion all play their part in ensuring that the course of true love never does run smooth. This magical tale of enchantment ranks amongst Shakespeare’s finest.
“Starting in 2008 the Garden Players’ productions have become a much anticipated annual event in the area, so it was with great excitement that I looked forward to their latest performance. While the setting was stunning, and a star in itself, the cast really shone.”
All profits will go to our chosen charity, Child Bereavement UK
Pictures from our production
|Ladies of Theseus’ Court||Jane Sutton & Sarah Seddon|
|Fairies||Jackie Thornton & Pam Pitts|
|Bottom (Pyramus)||Ronnie Witney|
|Quince (Prologue)||Paul Freeman|
|Flute (Thisbe)||Graham Weeks|
|Snout (Wall)||Gerard Nolan|
|Snug (Lion)||David Sutton|
|Starveling (Moonshine)||Bernadette Nolan|
Reviews and Feedback
• Bridget Fraser, Henley Standard Review
The marketing tag: Have you seen my Bottom ? set the fun-filled tone of The Garden Players’ recent production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream. All that familiar confusion of who loves whom and of Puck dropping love-juice on the wrong eyelids, took a refreshingly entertaining turn with this production and the audience loved it.
Staged in the tranquil gardens of Stubbings House near Maidenhead, this was a superb production. Director, John Timewell, extracted every ounce of fun and double entendre from this well-known and much produced Shakespearean script. Much of the humour lay in the body language of the cast and involved the audience to the full, as a production in Shakespeare’s time would have done.
Particular mentions must go to Grainne Harling for her queenly yet lusty portrayal of Titania: we truly believed her to be besotted by Bottom in his ass’s head, so convincing was her seduction technique. However ludicrous the situation seemed, we believed her. And to Ryan Witney for his performance as Bottom, ably supported by the rest of his fellow players as they rehearse their play for the Duke’s nuptials. The scene with tall Wall and short Bottom trying to peek through Wall to communicate with his hysterically funny lover, Thisbe (Graham Weeks) is particularly entertaining – again, largely due to the direction and actions of the cast. This cast with their able director certainly extracted every ounce of fun from the script in every way possible: body language, timing, communication with there audience.
Katie Welland as Helena came into her own as the complications of the play progressed. At first she is overshadowed by the doubly-loved, Hermia but, as the plot thickens, Helena shines through and it is she who sets the pace, especially in the cat fight between the two young women as the two lovers, Lysander (Harry Petrie) and Demetrius (Alfie Hurst) do their best to keep the sparring girls apart in yet another show of excellent direction and acting.
This was my introduction to The Garden Players. If this is the standard of their productions I can’t wait to see what’s next. And I’m not alone: as we left the gardens of Stubbings, several others in the audience were already planning to book for next year’s picnic production by The Garden Players. It was particularly pleasing to see so many young people (roughly 11 plus to young teens) in the audience. They all seemed to laugh in the right places so this highly accessible and enjoyable production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream may well have sprinkled some of Shakespeare’s fairy dust on their young eyelids, too.
• What a lovely evening! I thoroughly enjoyed both the production, which was great fun, and the ambience of Stubbings. Whilst the whole cast did well I thought Bottom was outstanding and very funny and Puck gave a very good performance. I hope the rest of the week goes as well as last night.
• Please compliment the cast for a superb hilarious performance of Midsummer Nights Dream last night. I came with the group from Rotary. All my party thought it was an excellent performance.
• Congratulations to the whole cast and production team for an excellent performance yesterday. All of the RCME attendees thoroughly enjoyed themselves and several were extremely complementary about the performance which was rated “the best AMSND we have ever seen, and that includes the RSC” by one enthusiastic member. Bottom, Puck and Flute all picked up rave reviews and the cat fight between Helena and Hermia was also a highlight. Personally I thought the Duke was the best.
• We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves – a very pleasant and relaxing evening (not too hot), with good company and a very amusing and well-acted play.
• Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed last night. Every year it gets better ! Lovely setting for the production.
• Just wanted to say how much we both thoroughly enjoyed Midsummer Night’s Dream. Excellent direction, nice to see new bits of humour brought out in a very familiar work. Great midsummer night’s entertainment – thank you!
• I just wanted to thank you for a fantastic night on Thursday. We had a brilliant time, the girls just loved it. Such a perfect play for them and they enjoyed every minute. They sat right at the front courtesy of two very kind people from Child Bereavement, and had a perfect view. The acting was fantastic and what a lovely setting too. Stubbings is beautiful and I’m so glad that the weather was kind to us – not too hot!
• I would like to say how much we enjoyed the performance last night Friday 23rd June. The Actors were fabulous and very funny. The people who organised were very friendly and as my Father-in-law who is disabled had a reserved front seat, it was his 87th birthday and he really enjoyed it. Well done everyone. Will definitely look forward to future productions.
• Alison and I would like to say how much we enjoyed The Garden Players’ production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play within the play was especially enthralling but bravo to all concerned! A German friend who is a keen Shakespearian has asked if there’s a recording of the performance. I’d be very pleased to send him a DVD.
• The physical comfort that comes from having tiered seating within a waterproof stand makes a lot of difference. The microphones were well placed and most of the dialogue came over clearly. You even managed to arrange for suitable weather! The acting and performances meant that the production didn’t flag at any stage and we were all carried along with the minute by minute progress on stage. This may all sound far too clinical when we were only aware of this in hindsight, loving every minute of the totally absorbing show.