TAKING Shakespeare’s plays out of the traditional setting is always a risky business.

I once saw a version of Romeo and Juliet set in gaudy, warring pizza restaurants, which was such a butchering of the whole thing that I almost left.

But Headlong Theatre’s new production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream is a brilliant re-imaging of one of Shakespeare’s best loved comedies. Instead of taking place in Athens, the play is set in a 1960s Hollywood back lot, with Puck (Sandy Grierson) as the “director” and Titania (Emily Joyce) as a movie star diva complete with bizarre entourage.

In a whirl of showbiz glamour, fantasy and reality become blurred and off-screen love lives turn into a tangled mess.

Music, lighting and set design all add to the glitzy silver screen atmosphere of this play, which often feels like a film itself though far more surreal than the classic cinema it draws its inspiration from.

Slapstick humour and sharp acting from the whole cast had the audience in stitches, especially during the final farcical play within a play, where Bottom (Christopher Logan) undoubtedly steals the show.

Staying true to Shakespeare’s script, the play brings out the best of its humour and magic adding unusual touches like big screen projections and 1960s pop music.

The whole experience is a fun-filled romp, which manages to really bring something new to this popular classic.

Headlong Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is showing at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton until February 19.

Box office: 023 8067 1771