Shakirah Bourne’s A Caribbean Dream is an amiable reimagining of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In Barbados, Hermia is set to marry Demetrius, even though she is in love with Lysander. During a festival, the mischievous Puck decides to play tricks on the islanders, Under love spells, chaos ensues…
Writer and director Shakirah Bourne transport Shakespeare’s whimsical play to a contemporary, tropical island setting. This works rather well; the festival gives cause for the music and costumes. The tone of the play is matched by the frivolity of the film’s setting. The combination of Shakespearean language and Barbadian culture is a good match. Bourne introduces local folklore into the story in the form of the festival and the fishermen’s play. Initially, this works well, distinguishing this adaptation from others.
Nevertheless, the play that is performed towards the end of the film lacks tightness. The sequence feels overlong, despite the overall brevity of the film’s duration. The main aspect which this scene, and indeed the film itself, lacks is comedy. Although there are certainly some amusing bits, humour is not always successful.
The strongest aspect of A Caribbean Dream is the night sequence. Various elements come together in good form, with a well photographed setting, lively make up, and a good soundtrack. The central love story combines traditional and contemporary elements. The arranged marriage seems rather archaic, however the mixed race relationships give the film a more modern edge. The film does not make this a domineering point, with Bourne choosing to focus on the playful elements of the narrative.
Performances in A Caribbean Dream are mixed. Lorna Gayle shines among the cast, bringing both humour and earnestness as Bottom. Keshia Pope and Sam Gillett are not quite as convincing. Although flawed, A Caribbean Dream is still an entertaining watch. It will be interesting to see what Shakirah Bourne tackles next.
A Caribbean Dream is released on DVD from Monday 12th February 2018.