As modern Shakespeare adaptations go, Shakirah Bourne’s A Caribbean Dream presents a decent enough premise in the shape of a Barbadian all singing, all dancing contemporary reimagining of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The production, which we are told, attempts to unite Shakespearean language with the culture of Barbados, offers an interesting departure from the traditional rigidity of the text, but sadly fails to bring anything new or of any substance to the original source material. Unfortunately for those involved, we are faced with the same old tired clichés and tropes, leaving us at best underwhelmed, and at worst with the impression that we are witnessing a poorly acted amateur dramatics piece.
Set in modern-day and during a Caribbean festival in Barbados, A Caribbean Dream attempts to immerse its audience into a world veiled in mystery and magic, where the lines between reality and dream become blurred and where nothing is quite what it seems. Chaos ensues when staff at a tropical resort headed by Puck the Butler (Patrick Michael Foster), a Quentin Crisp lookalike, turn into mischievous fairies and tamper with the wedding plans of three multicultural couples.
Hermia (Marina Bye) and Lysander (Jherad Alleyne) love each other and plan to elope, however Hermia’s father has other plans and intends for her marry the more suitable Demitrius (Sam Gillett). Enter Hippolyta (Sonia Williams) who is madly in love with Demitrius and who is prepared to do all she can to win back his love. As the lovers are transported into a playfully mischievous dream-world, both Lysander and Demetrious suddenly find themselves attracted to Hippolyta, resulting in some hilarious hijinks between the warring couples.
On the other side of the Island, a group of local fishermen attempt to win a big cash prize in a talent show by performing a traditional tale about emancipation from slavery. As they find themselves swept into Puck’s dastardly plans, the fishermen must prove that they have what it takes to win the cash prize and take the trophy home.
Bourne offers a fairly straightforward adaptation with an added local flair, but is sadly let down by the sheer enormity of the original piece, making it impossible to fully deliver on an interesting, yet flawed Premise. A Caribbean Dream is sadly let down, not by the adaptation itself, but rather by the way in which it is presented to us. The film’s inability to grab the attention off its audience from the offset, leave them at best cold and at worst irritated by the performances.