Russian Dream and Dobson 'Quickly' Dobson at RSC

By IH 27/07 Updated: 30/07 08:16

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Buy photos » Anita Dobson will make her RSC debut as Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor. (s)

A MIDSUMMER Night’s Dream is given a Russian twist by director Dmitry Krymov for a world premiere at Stratford’s RST.

Krymov is renowned as one of the most original theatre directors working in Russia today, with productions acclaimed for their innovative staging, costumes and sets.

Among the sawdust and chaos of a theatre that isn’t yet ready, the mechanicals are rehearsing to perform in front of a specially-invited audience that includes members of Britain’s ‘theatrical royalty’.

There are songs to rehearse, acrobatics to master and lines to learn, but with their big performance looming they are starting to get nervous.

And they haven’t even begun to train their acrobatic dog.

Krymov said of the project: "We are not using Shakespeare’s original text. This is not a translation of the play. It is more about the themes of Shakespeare’s plays, and we tell the story with our own words.

"The play is called A Midsummer Night’s Dream (As You Like It). So we’re playing with the names of Shakespeare’s plays. It’s like, for example, putting on and billing a play as Hamlet but making the story more like Othello. I want people to leave the theatre wondering which of Shakespeare’s plays they have actually seen. I like to blur the boundaries of his work."

The production, which can be seen from August 10 to 18, is in Russian with English surtitles, and is part of the World Shakespeare Festival.

Deborah Shaw, Festival Director, said: "The Festival has commissioned contemporary theatre artists from around the world who are pushing the boundaries of theatre, taking Shakespeare as their inspiration.

"Krymov’s work is devised with his company, in a series of striking, poetic visual metaphors which are constructed and deconstructed in front of our eyes. They are dream-like, phantasmagorical spectacles; the workings of the brilliant imagination of this visual artist and theatre designer turned director.

For tickets and further details visit www.rsc.org.uk or call 0844 800 1110.

ANITA Dobson, still best known for her iconic role as Angie in BBC TV’s EastEnders, is to make her RSC debut as Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor in Stratford.

Directed by Phillip Breen, Anita will join Desmond Barrit as Falstaff in Shakespeare’s comic tale of love and jealousy which plays at the RST from October 25 to January 12.

Anita has just finished s successful tour of the two hander play Bette and Joan playing Joan Crawford, which followed her appearance in the Strictly Come Dancing TV series and follow up national tour.

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