Dream a little, Dream
The University of Northampton School of The Arts BA (HONS) Acting 3rd Year.
Directed by Jonathan Young
This afternoon, I entered, for the first time, The Maidwell Theatre on the Avenue Campus to see Dream a little, Dream. Until this very second I had not noticed the punctuation of the title. Suddenly it all makes so much more sense.
We were met with a white floor and way too much smoke. For me the smoke detracted from the first 30 minutes of the production as it simply made things harder to see rather than add anything to the atmosphere. The lighting however, made up for the smoke and was delightful throughout. Adding drama and effect throughout the piece it was well devised and perfectly executed.
Once our players hit the stage, the white floor revealed itself as large sheet of silk like material and this was used to great effect throughout.
I will not pretend to understand every nuance of every small set piece but the acting was superb. I did eventually understand we were being treated to peoples inner most thoughts, moreover, their worries and insecurities. Sophie Lloyd and John Shelley delighted as angels of death while Zoe Davey and Riley Stephen left me with a lump in my throat as they grieved for their mother.
Another mention must go to Jack Smith and Hannah Mitchell as the two children blocking out the arguing of their parents by retreating into their own little fantasy land complete with some of the nicest monsters ever seen. Having last seen Jack and Hannah as the porters in Macbeth, this performance was a totally different proposition. They played as children and suffered the terrors that only children’s imagination can conjure. The voices of the warring parents off stage added to the part immensely.
A huge well done for the use of silhouettes behind the sheet, the use of shadow on the rear wall and most of all the black light set with the fluorescent insects of the jungle. I must say the caterpillar working its way across the floor was my favourite.
As I have written this review I have realised that I understood so much more than I thought. All of the set pieces were acted out flawlessly, some with great humour, others with deep emotion. Thank you all, whether mentioned or not, for seventy minutes of thought provoking and very enjoyable theatre.
My thanks also to the director of Dream a little, Dream, Jonathan Young; without your willingness to pass on your knowledge and skills, the Northampton University School of The Arts would not turn out such spectacular talent as it does year after year.
A final harsh word for a member of the audience. To the young lady sitting in front of me with the glasses and the bobble hat, I can only hope that you are not a first year actor, as you spent most of the time texting on your phone. The cast deserve more respect!