GONE is the Athenian forest, replaced with the forest on the edge of the very English village of St Athens, and gone are the Athenian weeds by which Demetrius should be identified by Puck – in their place the uniform of a GI Joe.

This witty transplanting of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to wartime Britain allows the play to speak volumes about the changing order of the country in the 40s – Demetrius being an American goes a long way to providing justification for Egeus rejecting him as a suitor for his daughter Hermia’s hand.

This production from Mappa Mundi in collaboration with Torch Theatre and Theatr Mwldan is bristling with wit, humour and a palpable sense of magic powerful enough to transport an audience.

While lovers of Shakespeare need no urging to immerse themselves in verse, others resist, fearing that the language will prove too challenging, but this version of the Dream is remarkable for its accessibility and the clarity of meaning conveyed by every member of an outstanding cast.

With an ensemble cast this talented it’s invidious to shine the spotlight on individuals, but even in a production where every performance was wonderful, three were just irresistible – Joanna Simpkins as Helena brought a glorious truth to the role, first with the desperation of her unrequited love for Demetrius and then, as both Lysander and Demetrius fall prey to Puck’s magic and declare their love for her, an equally authentic outrage at what she perceives to be their mockery.

The counterpoint to the enchanted lovers, the ‘tedious brief scene of young Pyramus and his love Thisbe’, is here enacted by the Home Guard members of the local amdram society, SAADOS (St Athens Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society). Liam Tobin’s Bottom, his ass’s ears an extension of his warden’s helmet, is a truly wonderful comic turn while James Peake’s Flute (and Thisbe) is sublimely funny, a joyful performance.

No big star names, no hype running ahead of it, but this production needs none of it. An ensemble cast who played to their strengths, all perfect for their roles – a mention must be made of Francois Pandolfo’s sharp, dandified mischief-making Puck – and a clear delight in their performance make this an unmissable piece of theatre.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream can be seen at Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon on Friday and Saturday, November 9 and 10. To book, call the box office on 01874 611622