I went to see A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Globe as near to 21st June as I could. Somewhat surprisingly, the weather was indeed mid-summery; I was too hot standing in the sun and wanted a little cloud cover. However, I was glad for the actors, since the faeries dress skimpily and the two sets of lovers lose much of their clothing as they wander through the woods - it would have been pretty unpleasant in last week's wind, and I would hate for Oberon to have had to put a top on.
The play stuck to the trad. Shakespeare (despite that there probably weren't many Lancastrian "rude mechanicals" in 16th century Athens), although a few of modern, crowd-pleasing flourishes were inserted: Oberon said "Oh yeah", Peter Quince did a little moon-walking and Gangnam style whilst dancing, Bottom, played by a mixture of Mathew Kelly and Jarvis Cocker, a camp and pedantic Northerner, made a jolly rude gesture with two V-shaped fingers and a tongue. I wonder if in writing the play within a play, Shakey was taking the piss out of actors - Bottom wants to re-write the play and cast himself in more than one part - and audiences - the Athenian court give stage suggestions and seem to be watching the play as ironic hipsters would - it's so bad, it's good - as well as out of himself: the play, Pyramus and Thisbe, is one he, erm, ripped off in Romeo and Juliet.
Puck was an epicene teenage sprite and the strongest reaction from the crowd was when Oberon literally swept him off of his feet to plant a romantic kiss on his lips.
But boy, did my back ache by the end of it, not to mention my knees and feet. I had a standing ticket because not only are they cheap, but I enjoyed the informal atmosphere of the yard when I went last year. However, that version of Romeo and Juliet came in under two hours, whereas this was just short of three. As it was a weekday, there were a lot of schoolgroups in, one of which stood behind me complaining all the way through. I suppose I should be glad that they weren't listening to tinny R&B or watching Eastenders on their iPhones. I moved after the interval and was then stood in front of a woman who told her child to push his way to the front so he could see and then stated: "I do think that tall people should be made to stand at the back," before proceeding to sniff, sneeze, cough and chomp her way through the second act. Groundlings, huh.