A boy dreams the play. Authority in Athens is shaky: Hermia rejects her father's choice, the Duke backs her father, and the Duchess sides with Hermia. Dad's choice, Demetrius, pursues Hermia but is loved by Helena. When Hermia and her lover meet in the woods the next night, Helena tells Demetrius in hopes she can follow and change his mind. Also in the woods are craftsmen preparing a play, plus the fairies: the fairy rulers, Oberon and Titania, are at odds, so Oberon conjures a spell and Titan
A Midsummer Night's Dream, not attempting to make modern sense of the language or the action, instead revelling in illusion and teasing the viewer with multi-layered otherworldlmess.
The plot revolves around fairy king Oberon (Jennings) and his queen Titania (Duncan), whose squabbling results in Oberon and his servant Puck (Lynch) playing a rather mean trick on Titania. They also involve various mortals ignorant of their existence, resulting in much bewilderment and misery.
In Noble's film, all are elements of a small boy's dream, acting on the stage of his toy theatre. To those now accustomed to modern interpretations of Shakespeare, the abandonment of realism may come as something of a rude shock, but it is entirely deliberate and wonderfully successful.
The film is precisely what its title suggests a dream, a fantasy, with all the illogical and bizarre effects recognisable to anyone who has eaten strong cheese just before bedtime. It is drama at its most magical; funny yet sinister, dark and colourful, mystical and downright bawdy.
Perfect for a cold winter's night.