IF you are going to stage a show in “Europe’s first ever pop-up Shakespearean theatre”, then why not take the chance to explore every inch of it, even the roof with the sun, the moon and the stars... and now a hole through which ribbons and wires and circus rings are dropped.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with its Athenian courtly formality contrasting with the woodland world of fairies, invites you to go wild in the country, and director Juliet Forster wholeheartedly accepts that gilt-edged invitation.

So too does Forster’s vivacious cast. If you last saw Paul Hawkyard’s urcine Macduff throttling Richard Standing’s Macbeth, blood spurting from the tyrant king’s neck as a dagger finished him off, then what a contrast to find Hawkyard now showing off his Bottom, and Standing being a “grizzly beast” of a different kind, playing the lion in the Rude Mechanicals’ play in his role as Snug, the Joiner.

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Gender swap: Antony Bunsee's fairy queen Titania tries out being female for size

And that’s but one of the delights of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, where a northern cast of 17 takes on two contrasting plays, as does Lindsay Posner’s southern ensemble of 17, for Romeo And Juliet and Richard III.

Damian Cruden’s Macbeth thundered and roared; stuck severed heads on spikes; made hellish use of the stage traps and had Standing’s Macbeth distractedly roaming the Groundling audience when troubled by a vision of the dead Banquo’s gory locks and soldiers barging the crowd aside too.

Forster’s Dream, by comparison, caresses them, woos them, tickles them, delighting them with spectacle and not a little silliness too, Madsummer as much as Midsummer. It opens with flowing silks, pretty dresses and stern orders in a stuffy world run by men, not given to listening to women’s counter feelings. Who wouldn’t want to be transported to a sylvan fairy world, set amid the wooden Rose Theatre structure.

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Plotting: The Rude Mechanicals mull over their parts, as Paul Hawkyard's Bottom, left, seeks another scene-stealing opportunity 

Here, Sara Perks has excelled in her wonderful woodland designs, with twig and bird’s nest hair for fairies clad like tree bark, silver birch or oak, while Philippa Vafadari’s choreography has them move like a cross between monkeys and cats, and they screech too.

At one point, one is mistaken for a tree as Hawkyard’s Bottom takes a relieving pee. Ah yes, Hawkyard’s Bottom, the star turn of the Rude Mechanicals. He is indeed an absolute Ass-et to Forster’s company, larger than life, and broadly, bountifully comical, where too often Shakespeare productions butt at the comedy like an enraged ram.

As if Oberon’s petal love juice given to the meddling Puck does not administer enough mayhem already for the Athenian young lovers –especially Amy Lennox’s exhausted Hermia and Olivia Onyehara’s Helena – then Titania and Oberon join in the fun by gender swapping; Antony Bunsee now garlanded, exotic and ballet shoed as Titania and Amanda Ryan’s Oberon relishing making mischief.

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Brick work: Emilio Iannucci's Thisbe, left, Robin Simpson's Wall and Paul Hawkyard's Pyramus in the Rude Mechanicals' play

Now, back to the initial point of using this new theatre space to the max. Bottom disappears from view on a wire; Clare Corbett’s outstanding, flighty, impudent West Country Puck emerges suddenly from behind a Groundling audience member and spins wildly on a wire too. Even more spectacularly, Maria Gray’s balletic aerial artist Cobweb spins webs from white sheets high above us or weaves patterns in a ring, acts of daring that match Forster’s artistic vision.

Add Chris Madin’s delightful score, the perfect weather that makes this forest fantasy as much a Midsummer Day’s Dream as a nocturnal one, and this is a Dream to remember. Why, even the Wall Play doesn’t fall flat at the end.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, Lunchbox Theatrical Prouductions, Tower Street, York, until September 2. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk