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Some chic creekside Shakespeare brings joy in hellish times

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22.02.2020

Sensitive citizens have complex, moody relationships with their cities. Show me someone who doesn't sometimes really love their city but sometimes want to strangle it and I'll show you a simpleton not so much living in her city as mindlessly grazing in it, like an unthinking cow in an understimulating paddock.

A performer in Lakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Picture: Kirsty Young

The Australian federal capital city that I live in sometimes appals me but then sometimes delights.

After appalling me for quite some time I suddenly found it delighting me when, last Sunday, I attended an outdoor performance of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

There one was, waiting for the show to begin in a swish little creekside amphitheatre at the Australian National University.

The breeze whispered in the picturesque willows beside the creek and the creek itself, normally nondescript Sullivans Creek, suddenly looked like a charismatic stretch of a Venetian canal.

The packed crowd was Aussie-ly engaging, informal and jaunty.

The warm-up music yodelled through the loudspeakers was catchy and toe-tapping and one of the numbers, Billy Joel's pulsatingly cheerful Uptown Girl, enabled me to engage in a little euphoric singalong karaoke.

The immediate promise (what bliss!) of some live Shakespeare induced a kind of cultural tingling in one's toes and (although this may be peculiar to me) in one's prostate.

And........

© Canberra Times