A SPOT-ON Sharon Stone impersonation, the classic 70s video game Pong and even a food fight involving the audience feature in this riotous retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
You can tell this isn’t going to be your average night with the Bard from the moment a nervous Peter Quince (Ed Gaughan) appears to introduce the play.
He launches into a rambling stand-up routine before apologising for the night of ‘inevitable disappointment’ ahead, because, he tells us, nobody really wants to watch Shakespeare, do they?
What follows is a radical reinterpretation of the much-performed play, with the romantic whimsy so prevalent in previous versions replaced with a thrilling, dark and laugh-out-loud funny sense of anarchy.
Out goes the usual twinkling forest scenery, replaced by a dank underpass - more Clockwork Orange than Countryfile, but still a world where anything can happen.
Shakespeare’s verse itself remains, albeit stripped back and occasionally set to music.
However, there are many additions, with the play-within-a-play’s amateur thesps the Mechanicals taking centre stage, joined by a mystery star guest.
In one of many interesting role reversals, the fairy king Oberon is a geeky, power-hungry nerd, with his assistant Puck left begrudgingly pulling the strings.
Despite the humour, Filter’s Midsummer Night’s Dream has a dark edge, putting the oft-forgotten sex and power struggles back into the play.
This innovative theatre troupe is clearly back on form after a slight misfire with its take on Three Sisters in 2010.
While this might have Shakespeare traditionalists turning in their grave, I imagine the great man himself would approve.
After all, the sense of fun, abandon and rebellion at the heart of the play remains in this fresh and engaging re-working.