A Midsummer Night's Dream in New Orleans was performed at the Arts Upstairs, Arts Theatre, Leicester Square, London.
The setting was in a jazz club and the steamy Bayou (swamp) of New Orleans in c. 1900, at the very birth of jazz. Being New Orleans, the influences are many, including period clothing, voodoo traditions, jazz and carnival.
Music was by Joe Evans, as well at Dr John, Louis Armstrong and other jazz greats.
Extract from the TIME OUT review by Miriam Gillinson
Shakespeare’s ‘fairy comedy’ always pops up in the summer, and it’s usually a flower-strewn, sunlight-dappled and light-hearted affair. Not so with Ruby in the Dust’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream in New Orleans’, which is set in a crumbling jazz café and the sprawling Louisiana bayous. The play rumbles with racial tensions, voodoo rituals and impromptu jazz sessions ... it’s great to see such a risky show, that’s happy to riff so freely off the original.
Everything about director Linnie Reedman’s smoky production is dark, mysterious and even a tad malicious. The fairies are frightening, Belle Mundi’s costumes verge on the macabre and the music – including songs by Dr John and Louis Armstrong – trembles with melancholy.
Fairy King Oberon (David Monteith) and Fairy Queen Titania (Silvana Maimone) look like haunted jazz singers – with an unhealthy interest in voodoo magic. Oberon’s fairy, Puck (Sid Phoenix), has a chalky skeletal face and gleaming red eyes. His sinister presence stalks the production. This is a Puck who takes great pleasure in wreaking havoc and many of his scenes, particularly those involving the four lost lovers, sting with fresh cruelty.