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MAGICAL; GO... to the theatre.

Byline: By GILL ISTED

MAGICAL forces at work in a haunted wood where two eloping lovers stumble across bumbling locals rehearsing a play for a royal wedding - it's got all the makings of a panto.

In fact, it's Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the first production by the bard to be staged at Mold's Clwyd Theatr Cymru by its award-winning assistant director Tim Baker.

Among the 17-strong cast is Phylip Harries, fresh from the venue's rock n roll panto, and now taking on the comedy-tragic role of Bottom.

Another is RSC and National Theatre actor Bradley Freegard who - despite having 15 Shakespeare plays under his belt already - is tackling A Midsummer Night's Dream for the first time.

Bradley plays Oberon, king of the fairies, who quarrels with his queen Titania.

Supernatural forces are unleashed upon eloping lovers, soon-to-be-wed royals and would-be actors alike. But because the play is so well known, it is one of the most daunting to act in, declares Bradley.

"People come with certain expectations but we are trying to look at it as a completely new play and I don't think they will be disappointed.

The play is visually brilliant, full of fun, music and non-stop action.

"We haven't set it in any particular time frame, we have thought more about class, the difference between the courtiers and the mechanicals, between the mortal and fairy worlds.

"In this production I double in two roles, Theseus and Oberon, but it's great because in each I'm playing opposite Siwan Morris who doubles as Hippolyta and Titania, so we complement each other all the way."

Bradley returns to Mold having just finished playing Mario del Torro in the world premiere of All About My Mother at London's Old Vic, a production directed by Tom Cairnes.

"It was a brilliant time, I learned so much," he says.

"Now I'm back here then we move to the New Theatre, Cardiff, for a week, during which time I hope my family gets to see it. I'm hoping my partner Eve Myles, who plays Gwen Cooper in Torchwood, will be able to come along as well.

"We're both amazed at how that series has taken off. It's got massive viewing figures and it's going down a storm in America.

"Eve did work here some years ago. She was in An Enemy Of The People, directed by Bill Alexander, in 2002, and she really enjoyed it.

It would be lovely if she could get up to Mold to see this but she's too busy working, though we do manage to get together at weekends.

"After Cardiff, I'm hoping to be back up here doing Macbeth with Terry Hands. I was in it last time, in 1999 and it's an ambition of mine to play the title role, so I'll be watching Owen Teale very carefully and hopefully picking up some hints from him!"

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Thursday to March 2, 7.30pm (Saturday also 2.30pm) Described performances February 15, 7.30pm; February 23, 2.30pm.

Captioned performance March 1, 2.30pm.

Tickets from pounds 6, on 0845 330 3565 or at www.clwyd-theatrcymru.co.uk

WHAT'S ON ...

THIS WEEK

Mold Clwyd Theatr Cymru Cariad 7.45pm (until Feb 16) C aernarfon Galeri Caernarfon Male Voice Choir anniversary concert 7.30pm (tomorrow) Llandudno Venue Cymru A Night of Pure 60s/70s & Motown with Gary Carr & Dave Hanson 8pm (tomorrow) Mold Clwyd Theatr Cymru A Midsummer Night's Dream 7.30pm ( Thursday-Mar 1) Bangor Theatr Gwynedd Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru Y Pair 7.30pm (Thursday-Feb 9)

THIS MONTH

Colwyn Bay Theatr Colwyn Dick Whittington & His Amazing Cat 2.30pm (Feb 9) Liverpool Empire Over The Rainbow Faye Tozer steps into the shoes of Eva Cassidy 8pm (Feb 12) Llandudno Venue Cymru The Chinese State Circus 2.30 & 7.30pm (Feb 14-16) Holyhead Ucheldre Canolfan Centre The Picture of Dorian Gray 7.30pm (Feb 16) Wrexham Rhosllannerchrugog Theatr Stiwt Chris Dean's Syd Lawrence Orchestra 7.30pm (Feb 23)

FURTHER AHEAD

Rhyl Pavilion Swan Lake performed by Moscow Ballet 7.30pm (Mar 9) Harlech Theatre Hamlet 7.30pm (Mar 17) Llangollen Royal Pavilion Max Boyce 7.30pm (Mar 28)

CAPTION(S):

Louise Collins as eloping lover Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream; Bradley Freegard
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 1, 2008
Words:712
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