Released: 10th November 2017
Directed By: Shakirah Bourne
Starring: Sam Gillett, Marina Bye
Reviewed By: Van Connor
The Bard gets tropical in this colourfully inventive Caribbean spin on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, effectively transplanting the Shakespearean comedy to the island of Barbados with suitably lively results. On paper, it sounds like a recipe for disaster – inviting overstimulation to an otherwise dialogue-driven comedy – but, in execution, A Caribbean Dream proves more than fun enough to work.
In a tale you doubtless remember from school, the story sees Hermia (Marina Bye) desperate to be with true love Lysander (Jherad Alleyne) , despite her father’s insistence that she instead couple up with the more “suitable” Demetrius (Sam Gillett) – himself the romantic desire of the ignored Helena (Keshia Pope). However, intervention and a subsequent case of mistaken identity by a group of mischievous mystics soon sees their romantic entanglements become even more tangled as the forces of love begin to set them each upon different desired partners.
To the credit of writer-director Shakirah Bourne, A Caribbean Dream flows with surprising fluidity in the face of its retained Shakespearean text and dialogue. At its simplest, the film can lazily be pigeonholed as a companion piece to Bag Luhrmann’s also face-lifted adaptation of Romeo + Juliet, but in the case of A Caribbean Dream, proceedings edge along without feeling quite so forced as that ’97 feature at times did.
Paramount to that is a cast admirably throwing themselves into the enjoyment of it all without getting too hung up on the logistics of its ancient tongue. Gillett and Bye, in particular, proves good sports, and its difficult not to find yourself charmed by Alleyne’s Lysander. It’s down to cinematographer Robin Whenary and composer Andre Woodvine to stylistically bring this package home, however, and it’s a job they certainly give their all to with a vibrant and electrifying show that would certainly have ruffled its author’s collar.