Robert Helpmann and John Mills in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Robert Helpmann and John Mills in A Midsummer Night's Dream

In 1938 Robert Helpmann, and a young, then unknown actor called John Mills played Oberon and Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Old Vic. Directed by Tyrone Guthrie, this version was an affectionate pastiche of a Victorian production with lots of muslin clad fairies. Oberon was the first straight acting role attempted by dancer Robert Helpmann, and reviews singled him out for praise. He was described as 'a majestic, ominous and most romantic figure' who 'speaks his verse better than almost anyone else in the company'. John Mills was 'full of a darting relish in Puck's mischief and mockery' and 'like a mischievous dragon-fly'.