by Gemma Anderson
Fleeing lovers, local am-drams and wild woodlanders, the National Youth Music Theatre’s (NYMT) production of The Dreaming in the Rose Theatre’s Main House offers something for everyone. Set in a Somerset village during midsummer’s night, The Dreaming is a musical that closely follows the plot of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The story begins with Lord Melstock preparing for his birthday celebrations, until he is interrupted with the news that some of his friends have ran off through the forest to elope. Little does he know that they will soon run into an abundance of fairy trouble. Meanwhile, the village Vicar is preparing a group of am-drams for a pageant for Lord Melstock’s birthday, however, when they are forced to rehearse in the forest, they too fall into the curse of the fairies.
Knowing that the show was being performed by NYMT, I naturally went along with great expectations for what I was about to see and I was not disappointed! For such young performers, the group were incredibly professional with every single member fully engaged in what they were doing. All the musical numbers were pitch perfect with an array of beautiful harmonies, not only showcasing the strong voices of the cast but also the extraordinary talent of the orchestra. I particularly enjoyed the Cuckoo Song performed by the Villagers. The characters involved each delivered a highly amusing performance, while maintaining harmonies that were reminiscent of a barber-shop quartet. A particular mention goes to Luke Leahy, as the village butcher Nick Cheek, for a truly outstanding performance. Not only did he perform brilliantly with the villagers, but he also made a magnificent goat!
However, if I had to give one point of criticism it would have to be that there were too many songs! I know this is a very odd thing to say given that it was a musical, but I personally felt that if there was a little more narrative between the musical numbers it would have made it a little easier to follow – particularly for any members of the audience who aren’t familiar with Shakespeare’s play.
Nevertheless, The Dreaming is an excellent show that showcases the exceptional talent of young musical theatre performers. From young children to OAPS, it is suitable for everyone! So grab your entire family and head down to the Rose Theatre for a musical extravaganza!