It seems like forever ago that this got booked. I had wanted to see my very first Macbeth at a midnight performance, but that didn’t work out – I’m glad about that now though. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is definitely one of my favourite shows of the year, so it only seems fitting that it should be the object of my first ever midnight matinée!
Given the magical content, and the fact that a good part of it is set at night, it’s a perfect choice to be performed at that time.
I’ve had late nights before; staying up to get reviews finished ready for the morning, taking cumbersome night transport home after a show… But nothing quite on this scale! Annoyingly, Friday is one of my full days at work and I hadn’t asked for any time off – so I was awake at 7am to do a full day. And then a full night! So I prepared in the only way I knew how: almost intravenous caffeine.
Worryingly, I woke up feeling quite lightheaded and stayed a bit dizzy for a lot of the day. With my experience of fainting at the Globe after a warm, strenuous day before I made sure to stock up on things that would help keep me going if I stayed the same (sugary treats, salty snacks & liquid). Luckily the humidity dropped by the time we reached the groundling queue, which also seemed to help.
In thinking about the night ahead I realised how useless London can actually be sometimes. It was a Friday night in the summer holidays, and there was pretty much nothing to do between finishing work & joining the queue! Had we not been worried about where we wanted to stand, or had we been sitting, then seeing another show beforehand is an obvious choice. However, we were keen to get to the front (for leaning as much as anything) so all we could do was have a leisurely early evening drink before wandering over – stopping off in the National Theatre to sit down & nab some WiFi!
As expected, a large returns queue developed around the front of the building but somehow a friend got lucky! I will plead with you here to always return a ticket, despite the admin charges making it almost pointless (money-wise) for a standing ticket. If you’re not there for a sold-out performance you could be preventing someone else from seeing it, and it’s sad if this should ever be the case.
We were a bit sad to learn that Ewan was unwell and couldn’t go on – he is such a fantastic actor, and one of the finds of the year, so it’s a shame to miss out. However, the wonderful Tibu stepped into the breach once more and got an even better chance to show how brilliant he is! He managed to show a completely different way of being Nick Bottom that I genuinely didn’t know was possible; remaining faithful to the text, the production & himself. I particularly enjoyed his version of Pyramus – and his pronunciation of the word ‘sword’! Yet another show that reinforces my love for understudies.
To add to the precariousness, the delightful Maggie has injured her foot but is soldiering on using crutches to get around! This has necessitated some changes in choreography & blocking – we definitely missed her as Peaseblossom, and dancing during the finale, but at the same time it was nice to be able to see her rehearsing as Thisbe (she’s usually on one of the tables behind us).
I think the lateness of the show gave everyone licence to go for it, being as mischievous & lively as possible! It must’ve been a bit of a dream (no pun intended, for once) for Katy to be able to slip around secretly as Puck from the very beginning, with the extra darkness. The lovers, too, were on particularly fine form and gave us lots to giggle about.
I think this definitely has to be my favourite of all my visits, and definitely fitting to mark my 10th show. The atmosphere was indescribable, especially by the end – everyone seemed to be revelling in the occasion. I’ve never experienced a particularly poor audience at this show, but I’m sure this event was mostly attended by the cast’s loved ones, dedicated Globe/Shakespeare fans, and lovers of this particular show. That would definitely account for the (metaphorical) warmth radiating around the theatre, and enthusiasm for every little moment.
Everyone was buzzing as they left the theatre just after 3am and, barring something of a transport nightmare for the group of us, the smiles stayed on our faces until we each reached our front doors in the small hours of the morning… I quite proudly got beaten by the sun; it was getting light by the time I got back, and only ended up sleeping after I’d been awake for 24 hours! I genuinely wasn’t tired until then (lots of Haribo had been consumed – other gummy sweets are available).
I will definitely, definitely be doing another midnight matinée in the future. It’s an unforgettable experience that every theatre fan should try at some point if they can. And it’s another thing that makes the Globe such a special place.