The second televised production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with Helen Mirren in the cast, although this time in a different role (Titania). In the 1968 production, which was released to movie theatres in Europe, but premiered in the U.S. on CBS-TV, Ms. Mirren played Hermia. See more »
As many would know, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" has three separate plot threads, concerning the lovers, the fairy king and queen, and the Athenian worksmen. In this BBC production directed by Elijah Moshinsky, two of them work, one doesn't.
The rustics, like one reviewer says, just ain't funny. Brian Glover is disappointing as Bottom. He is totally miscast, as is Geoffrey Palmer's Quince. Also, Nigel Davenport's Theseus is too old.
Luckily, the females in the film make a splendid team, and the lovers' scenes work very well. It is enough to cancel out the disappointment concerning Bottom and his co-workers' subplot. Plaudits go especially to Helen Mirren's Titania and Cherith Mellor's Helena.
Elijah Moshinsky emphasizes the dark and ominous side of the play, with minimal lighting, and music by child fairies always lightening the mood.
All in all, this 1981 BBC production (in the Complete BBC Shakespeare series) is one worth catching.
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