Judi Dench Basks in a New U.K. Midsummer, Directed by Hall, Starting Feb. 9

By Mark Shenton
09 Feb 2010

Judi Dench
Judi Dench
Photo by Carolyn Djanogly

Judi Dench and Peter Hall are reunited as star and director, respectively, of a new production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, beginning performances at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, Feb. 9. Almost 50 years after she first played Titania for Hall, she's doing it again.

Opening is Feb. 15, for a run through March 20. Dench played Titania under Hall's direction for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1962.

The new company features Rachael Stirling, James Laurenson and Charles Edwards, with Oliver Chris, William Chubb, Msimisi Dlamini, Richard Keightley, Ben Mansfield, Reece Ritchie, Susan Salmon, Annabel Scholey, Simon Scott, Sophie Scott, Timothy Speyer, Julian Wadham, Leon Williams and Tam Williams.

The creative team includes set and costume designer Elizabeth Bury, lighting designer Peter Mumford and sound designer Gregory Clarke.

Set in Elizabethan England, this production sees Titania, the Fairy Queen, as a portrait of the aging Queen Elizabeth I, fascinated with the theatre, besieged by courtiers but "married to the people of England."



Hall and Dench's previous collaborations also include Antony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre in 1987 (for which Dench won the Olivier Award for Best Actress), Filumena (at the Piccadilly Theatre in 1998), The Royal Family and Hay Fever (both at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, respectively in 2001 and 2006). Dench's other recent theatre credits include Madame De Sade (Donmar Warehouse at Wyndham's), the world premiere of David Hare's The Breath of Life (Theatre Royal, Haymarket), The Merry Wives of Windsor – The Musical and All's Well That Ends Well (both for the RSC), Amy's View (National Theatre and Broadway) and A Little Night Music (National Theatre). For television, her credits include "Cranford," "As Time Goes By" and "Last of the Blonde Bombshells"; and for film, "The Quantum of Solace," "Notes on a Scandal," "Casino Royale," "Mrs Henderson Presents," "Pride and Prejudice," "Iris," "Chocolat," "Shakespeare in Love" (Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress) and "Mrs Brown."

Oliver Chris plays Bottom. Theatre credits include Rain Man (on tour), Well (Apollo), Portrait of a Lady (Bath Theatre Royal), and The Taming of the Shrew (Wilton's Music Hall).

William Chubb plays Egeus. He was last seen at the Rose Theatre in Hall's production of Love's Labour's Lost. Other recent stage credits include The Sea (Haymarket), The History Boys (NT), Hay Fever (Peter Hall Company at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket) and You Never Can Tell (Theatre Royal Bath).

Msimisi Dlamini plays Philostrate. Theatre credits include The Spanish Tragedy (Arcola).

Charles Edwards plays Oberon. His theatre credits include the Peter Hall Company productions of The Apple Cart and Much Ado About Nothing (both at the Theatre Royal, Bath) and Hay Fever (Theatre Royal, Haymarket), the original production of The 39 Steps (Tricycle/West End), and The Duchess of Malfi (National Theatre).

Richard Keightley plays Fairy. His credits for the stage include Hamlet (TNT Theatre) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Oxford Stage Company).

James Laurenson plays Quince. He has previously worked with Peter Hall on productions of The Apple Cart, The Browning Version, Pygmalion, Measure for Measure, Waiting for Godot and As You Like It. Other recent stage credits include Michael Grandage's production of Othello at the Donmar and the RSC revival of The Crucible.

Ben Mansfield plays Demetrius. His stage credits include Jenufa (National Perspective) and French Without Tears (ETT).

Reece Ritchie plays Puck. His theatre credits include Victory (Theatre Royal Bath).

Susan Salmon plays Hippolyta. Her theatre credits include The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Lyric Hammersmith), Big White Fog (Almeida), Macbeth (Out of Joint) and Medea (Dublin's Abbey Theatre, Broadway and Paris).

Simon Scott plays Snout. His stage credits include Pinocchio (Lyceum Edinburgh), and Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra and Much Ado About Nothing (all for the RSC).

Sophie Scott plays First Fairy. Previous credits at the Rose Theatre include Uncle Vanya, and for the Peter Hall Company The Portrait of A Lady. Most recent stage credits include The Kreutzer Sonata (Gate), The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare's Globe) and Twelfth Night (Donmar).

Annabel Scholey plays Hermia. Recent theatre credits include Chichester Festival Theatre's rpoductions of The House of Special Purpose and Wallenstein.

Timothy Speyer plays Snug. His theatre credits include for Pgymalion for Peter Hall at the Theatre Royal Bath, and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare's Globe).

Rachael Stirling plays Helena. Theatre credits include The Priory (Royal Court), Pygmalion (International Tour) and The Taming of the Shrew (Wilton's Music Hall) and Theatre of Blood (National Theatre).

Julian Wadham plays Theseus. Theatre credits include Plenty (Albery Theatre), A Letter of Resignation (Comedy), Our Country’s Good (Royal Court ) and Much Ado About Nothing (National Theatre).

Leon Williams plays Flute. His most recent stage credits include Crimes of the Heart and Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night (both at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park).

Tam Williams plays Lysander. For theatre his credits include Factors Unforeseen (Orange Tree), The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night and The Winter’s Tale (all at the Watermill, Newbury).

To book tickets, contact the box office at 0871 230 1552, or visit www.rosetheatrekingston.org.