JOYCE MCMILLAN on A MIDWINTER NIGHT’S DREAM at Cambo Estate, Fife, for The Scotsman 24.2.14. ____________________________________________________
3 stars ***
IT WOULD BE FAIR TO SAY that the whole project took some nerve. To stage an outdoor evening production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in the middle of a Scottish winter snow-storm is bold enough; to do it while confidently telling your audience that the promenade show lasts only 90 minutes – when in fact it continues for a solid two and a half hours, trudging through mud, mire and forest, and standing in fields of icy snow – is a display of chutzpah that fairly takes the breath away. Yet all this is what the Highland Shakespeare Company and its talented director Sunny Moodie have done with their midwinter show, seen at Cambo in Fife last week, and at Fingask Castle in Perthshire over the weekend; and the result is crazy, and uneven, and beautiful, and unforgettable in equal measure, featuring some pretty rough acting here and there, and some very ponderous comedy indeed.
in the end, though, the show has two huge assets, apart from the sheer commitment of the 25-strong student and professional cast. First, there is some truly exquisite music for harp and violin by composer Siannie Moodie. And secondly, there is the landscape itself, with fields of Cambo snowdrops glittering magically under a fitful, snowy moon whose appearance over Titania’s bower seems like an absolute miracle of beauty and design. The aim of the Highland Shakespeare Company is to stage Shakespeare in landscapes that add depth and resonance to his poetry; and on the strength of this mad but ravishing show, it looks as though they are succeeding.