A Midsummer Night's Dream

Snape Maltings
Aldeburgh Festival 2017

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Netia Jones's new staging of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream
took us into an enchanted Suffolk wood and,
with artless simplicity, cast spells.

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Netia Jones has found a visual language in tune with Britten's music... Bottom and his fellow actors are styled after the workers who witnessed the creation of the Maltings in the 1840s. Oberon, Tytania and the lesser fairies appear as mourners at a Victorian funeral. All tweed, tartan and youthful zest, Helena, Hermia, Lysander and Demetrius conjure up a Betjeman idyll of postwar Britain.
The Times
* * * * *
Her use of mysterious shadows and silhouetted semblances,
as well as a subtle alternation of black and white with colour,
helps her differentiate between the disparate groups
who interact therein. Add to this a directorial approach
that hits exactly the right balance between lightness and
seriousness that the piece requires to succeed,
and the result is nigh-on flawless.
The Stage

Netia Jones takes us deep into the canopied groves
of Oberon's forest, luring us into the nocturnal embrace
of the wood with a heady 'physick' of disorientating
visual charms.
Opera Today

* * * *
hypnotically beautiful...
Fairy spotlights flash through a dappled argent backdrop as top-hatted fairies, sporting Andy Warhol-like blonde hair and tiny round sunglasses, streak across the stage. Rustling leaves, shot through with shafts of sunlight, place us in a woodland where danger lurks.

Making a virtue of its shallow concert stage... director Netia Jones employed the projections with which she had brought many an opera to life in a limited space. Here she conjures up Shakespeare's forest at night with images of ghostly trails of foliage and nocturnal animals, the transparency and colourlessness of photographic negatives seen too in the fairies, eyeless, pigment-free shadows that never glimpse the sun.
Culture Whisper

A brilliant new production...With minimal effects - a swing, a carriage with a sack of grain that will serve as bed and pillow to several lovers - marvellous illumination plays with the shadows that the performers throw on either side of a large screen, and the projection of video images which transports us more than credibly to the interior of this great dream
El Pais

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Jones's video projection...cogs and wheels for the Mechanicals, and for the spirit/person interface a sequence of nature images at their most opulent and mysterious - gorgeous flowers, a snake, spiders, rustling trees, all about their secretive, often deadly business - that leaves room for some gripping German expressionist-style live shadow-play and distortion from the respective worlds.

Photographs Hugo Glendinning
Midsummer Night's Dream Britten Midsummer Night's Dream Netia Jones Midsummer Night's Dream Snape  review