‘The course of true love never did run smooth.’ (Lysander, Act I, Scene i)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Full Company. Credit: Simon Annand.

Puppets have been in vogue for ‘grown-up’ theatre since War Horse stormed the National Theatre and Handspring Puppet Company are back with a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Bristol Old Vic. From Michael Morpurgo’s moving children’s tale to Shakespeare’s carnivalesque comedy, Handspring had much to live up to following their sell-out triumph in the West End.

With gleeful comedy and playful acting, the company carried the production on a raucously funny and rude ride from the Mechanicals intermingling with the audience pre-show to lovers tiffs that blossomed into full-blown play-fights. It was a mischievous, dream world of wild love and magical enterprise.