It was fresh, it was a frolic, and Quay Arts rang with laughter quite literally from start to finish.

The audience knew it was in for an adventurous evening when it was led into the West Gallery, where the cast began an interweaving of performance – were they stewarding us or had the play started? – which set the tone for what was, simply, riotously funny.

Not that there was anything simple about this production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by the Horse Box Theatre.

Claimed in the programme to have been 'lovingly messed around with' by artistic director Joe Plumb and company director Ashleigh Mackness, the much-loved and surely most performed of all Shakespeare's works, shook the play until all its wild possibilities fell out.

Isle of Wight County Press: A scene from A Midsummer Night's DreamA scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream (Image: Paul Bird Photography)

And it was wild. "This is by far Shakespeare's sexiest play," said the programme notes. "It screams cabaret."

So we got cabaret. Costume was richly sequinned, feathered and lavishly low cut. Oberon, King of the Fairies (Shane Jamie Green), was bare-chested and in feathers and leather: Titania, his near-estranged Queen (Ashleigh Mackness), was attired in silhouette-hugging red and ditto Puck, servant to Oberon, who was a long way from the usual simply androgynous sprite.

Scenes were punctuated by immaculately close-harmonied close-choreographed songs performed Kit Kat Club-style, by Holly Downer, Harley Mackness and Georgina Davis Field, fairies Cobweb, Peaseblossom and Mustardseed. There were even aerial hoop dances in scene breaks, performed by Jaydene Lee Paddock.

Of course there are as many interpretations of the Bard's output as there are productions, but this young company were truly and unrelentingly audacious in their vision of this story of the loved and the unloved, the melding of the mortal world with that of the spirits of the Forest, and the richly comic consequences.

Even the scenes with the most dramatic consequences – and after all, one of the major themes hinges around exile or death – get away with being played for laughs.

One traditionally most touching scene, where Helena (Josie Flack) finally gains the love of Demetrius (Omar Naguib) but thinks he is mocking her while Hermia (Ellie Warne) is no longer being saddled with a life without her true love, Lysandra (Ruby Beaman) – hinges, most successfully, on slapstick.

So the actual comic interludes provided by the 'rude mechanicals' didn't jolt as they can so often. The comedy simply became more exquisite. Vicky Wells as Quince put in a bravura performance with immaculate physical comedy as well as timing.

Joe Plumb's performance as Nick Bottom was masterful, in particular Bottom in his donkey guise being feted by the fairies. Titania's conviction here was excellent too.

While purists carp at new interpretations, the point is that it's all there, in the script, for the taking. And the remaking.

In fact the company did step outside the boundaries of the play's lines. A few ad libs at first that set the 'we don't do Shakespeare' scene led ultimately to the most brilliant retake on the Mechanicals' rehearsal of their play-within-the-play about Pyramus and Thisbe.

The one disappointment was that some of the cast rattled too quickly through their lines. If you are going to take what's there in the script and have a field day, those wonderful words, written with all that beauty, wit and yes, innuendo, need to be heard.