Judi Dench plays Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Rose Theatre, Kingston
There are a few things that immediately raise eyebrows about this forthcoming theatre show: why are they doing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in February? And how on earth is the ageing Judi Dench going to pull off playing the young, randy Fairy Queen, Titania?
But read on to find out what’s right about it:Dame Jude (as we like to call her) is actually playing Titania as a portrait of the ageing Queen Elizabeth I, fascinated with theatre, besieged by courtiers, but “married to the people of England.” We rather like this ideaPeter Hall (founder of the RSC and general big cheese of opera, theatre and film) is directing the playHall and Dench have previous form, working together on another AMND in 1962, as well as Antony and Cleopatra (at the National), The Royal Family (Haymarket) and Hay Fever (in the West End)Elizabeth Bury’s designed the show especially for the Rose’s open stage, which is modelled on the original Elizabethan Rose Theatre on Bankside. Which is niceRachael Stirling (she’s Diana Rigg’s daughter!) is playing Helena and sexy Ben Mansfield (from Primeval) plays Demetrius, her on-off loverBottom’s played by Oliver Chris, who you’ll recognise from TV shows like The IT Crowd, Green Wing and Nathan BarleyTickets start at just £5, and places in the stage-side pit (bring your own cushion) are just £8.50
At the time of writing, there are still tickets left. But we reckon they’re going to go fast. And if you’re wondering if it’s worth making the trip out to Kingston for, we’ve been assured this isn’t going to transfer to the West End, so this could be your only chance. Book now for a taste of Elizabethan midsummer in spring 2010.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream plays at the Rose Theatre, Kingston from 9 February to 20 March. Call 0871 230 1552 for tickets, or visit www.rosetheatrekingston.org.