You might think that every Shakespeare play has been adapted, remoulded and reimagined in almost every way possible, however ‘A Caribbean Dream’ offers a fresh and unique take on his classic romantic comedy, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. This time, the story unfolds in modern day Barbados, providing an unlikely combination of Shakespearean prose and Bajan street carnivals… not to mention a few iPhones! Whilst director Shakirah Bourne maintains a vague loyalty to the original script, he throws a bit of Caribbean slang into the mix, providing some light-hearted relief.
The basic plot of the tale remains, as do the characters names. It centres mainly on the four young lovers, Hermia, Lysander, Helena and Demetrius. Whilst Demetrius’ sights are set firmly on Hermia, she is in love with Lysander, leaving Helena pining after Demetrius to no avail. One night “Puck”, the mischievous butler, has his fun casting spells on the boys and girls, creating a complicated sort of love rectangle. In these fantasy scenes, we are exposed to some pretty questionable special effects, but the interspersing shots of the street carnival and not to mention the vivid greens and oranges unique to the Caribbean are the perfect dilution. In fact, the scenery and nature themselves are enough to excuse the corniness of the sparkly bits.
Though the young four are the focus of most of the plotline, the fishermen (originally the mechanicals) are the real stars of the show. Their decision to put on a play for the talent show is where the comedy lies, and their humour and charm is the perfect antidote to the sometimes insufferable younger cast members, who are harder to relate to and definitely prone to a bit of overacting. Lorna Gayle, deserves particular mention in her portrayal of Bottom, played the most genuine humour and comedy seen in this film.
Whilst ‘A Caribbean Dream’ isn’t necessarily going to be everyone’s cup of tea, it is without a doubt a sweet and enjoyable movie, set in a beautiful place with beautiful costumes and, not to mention, the words of the most famous lyricist in history. While it is difficult to connect to most of the characters, and the special effects are perhaps a bit below par, it’s innocence and good intentions make it difficult to find fault. Rather than looking out for cutting edge camera tricks and flawless acting, watch it for the comedy and the scenery, don’t take it too seriously, and you won’t be disappointed.
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