Barbados, The Bard and Boxers: The Spectacle of A Caribbean Dream

Julien Neaves – Editor

Greetings folkses. So you know how the tag line for this site is “Journey from Caribbean Scenes to Genre Screams”? You don’t? It’s right there under the title! Never mind.

Well I haven’t been writing much on the “Caribbean Scenes” part of it so I decided to rectify that somewhat with a quick review of a Barbadian film, Shakirah Bourne’s 2017 fantasy drama A Caribbean Dream based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Tasha immediately regretted forgetting her Midol at home

The plot of the film mostly follows the original play where you have two mortal couples and an acting troupe becoming the playthings of some forest fairies.

What I enjoyed most about this film was the visuals. The rich colours of the costuming really pop and bring the fairy world to life. My favourite look was a character that appeared for just a moment, the cool looking snake lady pictured above. The smoke effect in the forest also added to the feel of a magical world though the visual effect for the “love trance” was a bit hokey. The English and Barbadian cast does a commendable job and the standouts were Patrick Michael Foster as the fairy Puck and Lorna Gayle as Bottom the Fisherwoman/aspiring actress.

The film has a number of comedic moments as well including one eye-opening scene where Lysander (Jherad Alleyne) drops his trousers as he propositions Hermia (Marina Bye).

When granny brings out another plate of fish cakes

The film is set during the annual Crop Over but that seemed more like an excuse to advertise the festival than anything else. It adds nothing to the plot other than having some fairy characters drawn from masqueraders which is never explained and makes little sense. And the jumping back and forth from the film to random Crop Over revelry was jarring and felt unnecessary.

I was also of two minds about the use of Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter for the dialogue. The cast handle it well but every time the amateur actors broke into the Barbadian dialect I found myself wanting more. I think the film would have benefited from an even balance of the two speech patterns, possibly having only the fairy tale characters use iambic pentameter. Despite my criticisms A Caribbean Dream is a visually fun, well-acted film that shows a lot of love for the source material and its island setting.

Ranking: 3 dropped trousers out of 5.

And big up to TTT and FILMCO for showing this and other great Caribbean content. If you live in Trinidad And Tobago or visiting I highly recommend checking out their line-up.

For my review of the Barbados short film Egress you can click here.

Julien Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel but dreams of being Batman. Also loves creating board games and is an aspiring Caribbean sci-fi author. Says things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.

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