It is surprising how rarely Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream is challenged for its toxic misogyny.

Here is a sample from the list of excuses: the play was written in the 16th century; it is set in Athens, where daughters were required to marry whoever their fathers wished; Shakespeare seems to be treating Egeus as an old fool; and the arranged-marriage-or-death request was finally denied.

It is not a full list, but they allow most to accept the play’s opening scene as some kind of dramatic spring, which pushes the action to the woods where the fairies rule and dreams are dreamt.

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Luckily for the Rose Theatre’s audiences, Juliet Foster who directed Midsummer Night’s Dream at Blenheim Palace, is not part of that majority.

While making her intellectual point she did not forget her job and created a truly spectacular show with incredible acrobatics and honestly impressive costumes.

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But it is undoubtedly a woman’s debate with history: it is as bold a decision as brilliant to cross-cast actors between the realms of man and immortals and genders at the same time. In the human world Tom Kanji plays Theseus, the Duke of Athens, who enslaved Hippolita, the Queen of the Amazons (Claire Cordier) and forces her to marry him. But in the forest the roles are changed: Claire Cordier changes on stage to become a proud and cruel Oberon while Mr Kanji takes on the role of Oberon’s abused wife, Titania.

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Those are the most significant, but not the only gender-related decisions taken by Ms Forster. Playing with genders did not make the dense plot less comprehensible however. Quite the opposite, because traits such as meanness, cunning, stupidity and innocence become something more related to the lines of power than those dividing sexes.