Two local productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream within four months – surely this could be nothing less than overkill?

Absolutely and irrevocably not, each has been as different as different can be.

February's staging by the Shambles Theatre was Shakespeare the steampunk way, the combined Rotorua Girls' and Boys' high schools' version comes straight out of this city's bicultural/multicultural blender.

This is a production that has twists aplenty. Te reo's spoken, taiaha wielded in a contemporary take on kapa haka, melded with Elizabethan English and lines far more modern than the Bard would have penned.


While liberties have been taken with his original storyline, the theme remains the same. Star-crossed lovers abound, a group of wandering players become central to the plot.

Who doesn't know that Titania, queen of the Fairies, is sent to sleep by a magic potion and in her trance falls in love with Bottom the Ass?

In this version she still does but as a moko-wearing queen of the Patupaiarehe, impressively played by Tawhirangi Macpherson. Nor is this any old sleeping draft administered to her. Rather it's the juice of a specific putiputi (flower).

Others in this impressive cast of 30 fall under its spell too as the mischievous Puck (Rohm Dixon) dances through a carpet of autumn leaves at the bidding of his master King Oberon (Hikurangi Ruwhiu Edmonds).

The cast of A Midsummer Nights' Dream in action. Photo / Supplied
The cast of A Midsummer Nights' Dream in action. Photo / Supplied

Enter the disparate players led by Peter Quince (Tomairangi Paterson Waaka). Playing Bottom, Charlie Roigard's a star in the making. Small in stature, his stage presence is already in the big league.

This is a Shakespearean interpretation with music at its core, the majority of the vocals are the work of musical director Laura Falconer, but Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On (sung by Macpherson and Roigard) is in the electric mix.

Choreographer Janaye Biddle-Kite had a dream cast to work with, there's not a misplaced step. Lighting, costuming and special effects are outstanding.

Under Bridget Donovan's direction, this madcap romp written four centuries ago is a wonderful fusion of Māori performing arts, themes and routines that are 21st century at its most trendy.


With time running out on its season (the last show's tomorrow night), it would be a crying shame to miss such a unique production by a commendably talented group of students performing with a professionalism way beyond their teenage years.

The details
What: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Where: Rotorua Girls' High School hall
When: 7.30pm tonight and tomorrow
Cost: Tickets available from, adults $15, students $12, ages 12 and under $10.