The company, now under the direction of Iain Johnstone, is in transition and this Dream, aimed at ages 10 and over, is something of a new departure from the old house style (and on-stage partnership of Johnstone and former director Andy Cannon).
Johnstone himself is not actually performing and you may have thought his flair for numpty antics would have made him a shoo-in for Bottom. But there's no Bottom either. Johnstone's adaptation of the original Shakespeare dispenses with the Mechanicals altogether, paring back the intertwining plot-lines (and text) to focus on the quartet of lovers and their encounters with the meddlesome forces of the fairy realm in the midnight-midsummer wood.
The production mixes in a liberal use of puppets, not so surprising since there are only four of a bright young cast to play lovers, fairies and Hermia's tyrannical old dad. He fetches up as the ass, ears attached to his bowler hat, in yet another nicely handled characterisation by Andrew Rothney, whose ability to speak Shakespeare's lines as written makes you wish there wasn't quite so much well-intentioned tinkering. Less witchy-cackling from Tommy Mullins as Puck would be good too, but he – along with Samantha Blaney, Belle Jones and Rothney – plunges into the business of quick changes, puppetry, singing and story-telling with an energy that does much to offset the odd hippy/flower child look of the set and costumes. It's a fitful dream, but there are moments where the old Wee Stories finesse shines through.
At Cumbernauld Theatre tomorrow and then on tour across Scotland