Davey Seagle and Herbert Peppard’s There’s Something About Bottom is an immersive theatrical experience that melds the timeless whimsy of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a fresh twist of interactive storytelling. This captivating production invites audiences to dive headfirst into the beguiling world of fairy mischief, where they aren’t just spectators, but instead serve as integral participants in a narrative that unfolds with uproarious charm and playful unpredictability.
The premise of There’s Something About Bottom is as fantastical as it is absurd. Emma Throsell is exuberant as Queen Titania and thrusts us into a delightful whirlwind of chaos, courtesy of her mischievous ex-lover, Puck, played by Rian Howlett. When her adopted child vanishes into thin air, she finds herself smitten with none other than a character named Bottom. This ludicrous yet endearing setup forms the backbone of the experience.
What truly sets this production apart is its immersive nature. Audiences are encouraged to engage with a wacky cast of characters and influence the outcome of the story. The level of participation required ranges from problem-solving and decision-making through to gleefully meddling with the fates of hapless mortals. Your choices matter, and they propel the narrative forward in unexpected and hilarious directions.
Humor is the beating heart of There’s Something About Bottom. The script is brimming with witty wordplay, absurd scenarios, and a touch of Shakespearean charm. Cara Whitehouse as Bottom was the source of many laughs throughout the play, and made a fabulous donkey who was far more likable than his original Shakespearean counterpart. The laughs came fast and frequent, with clever comedic timing. Rian Howlett as Puck and Cara in particular had stellar chemistry and perfectly captured the whimsical, light-hearted spirit of the piece.
The beauty of this experience is its ability to adapt to each audience’s inclinations. Whether you choose to help restore order to the fairy realm by pouring beautifully designed love potions on Queen Titania, or gleefully embrace the delightful mayhem, the show accommodates your choices, ensuring that every visit is a unique and personalised adventure. This level of agency is a testament to the production’s commitment to audience engagement.
The technical aspects of There’s Something About Bottom are also incredibly engaging. The immersive set design transports you to a world of enchantment, and the costumes and makeup are a visual feast for the eyes. This attention to detail ensures that every aspect of the production contributes to the magical atmosphere. Production designer Ash Bell is to be credited for her attention to detail.
There’s Something About Bottom successfully bridges the gap between Shakespearean tradition and contemporary entertainment. Bottom leverages clever wordplay, absurd situations, and pop culture references to elicit laughter by engaging in banter with audience members and allowing them to poke fun at him. While Shakespearean humor remains timeless, this production infuses contemporary comedic elements that resonate with a 21st-century audience. This modern comedic touch not only keeps the audience entertained but also makes the humor relatable and accessible.
Whether you’re a Shakespeare aficionado or simply in search of an evening of laughter and enchantment, There’s Something About Bottom is an unmissable delight. It offers a genuinely immersive, interactive, and utterly whimsical journey into a world of fairy mischief and playful nonsense. Don’t let this enchanting experience pass you by.
There’s Something About Bottom is being performed at Sideshow Reverie Rooms at 32 Harrington Street, The Rocks as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival, until October 1 2023.