Home > Midsummer Night's Dream (Review) – thru 8/30
Midsummer Night's Dream (Review) – thru 8/30

Short Description of Midsummer Night's Dream (Review) – thru 8/30

Midsummer Night's Dream (Review) – thru 8/30

Shakespeare & Co

70 Kemble St Lenox, MA

http://shakespeare.org

 

There's a few things Shakespeare & Co does better than anyone else. Midsummer Night's Dream may be one of them.

 

Shakespeare & Co launched their revival of Midsummer Night's Dream this week, playing thru August 30th at the Tina Packer Playhouse (tickets available at shakespeare.org). It comes on the heels of their first piece, “Shakespeare's Will”, which has won accolades from all the critics. While “Will” is historical fiction, largely educational, and takes you into the mind of Anne Hathaway, “Midsummer Night's Dream”, penned somewhere in the 1590's, cuts into the meat and potatoes of Shakespeare. We are introduced to Puck, magic spells, Oberon, Helena, Hermia and Lysander, love at first sight, a lovely cast, and more, much more.

 

At the top of the list of what Shakes & Co excels at is rule breaking, in a kinda-sorta way. They bend the rules without breaking them, and this recent rendition is destined to please. You never get bored here, and wait on the edge of your chair to see what magic potion has been cooked up. To break the rules, we need to know the rules. That is the essence of the poetic license. Director Tony Simotes, while largely staying to script, enchants us with a better-than-the-real jazz opening, that comes across as a recurring theme throughout. We are gifted with Johnny Lee Davenport, who controls the stage in any piece. No matter how we divvy this performance up, a multitude of talent and character is hiding behind every corner. Our favorites are here, along with some new ones. David Joseph is always wonderfully versatile. Michael Toomey had the crowd in stitches. Rocco Stito was utterly convincing. The scenes went from segment to segment, but always circled back to where they need to be. This is rule breaking, when you know which rules to break, and is very hard to do.

 

The one problem with this show is length. It comes in at three solid hours, no matter how we cut it, and no one likes cutting Shakespeare. Perhaps lopping a full 30 minutes off would be like cutting Der Meister Singer von Nuernberg in half, but the crowd was indeed getting antsy. One false summit after the other seemed like fit endings, but this play was the gift that kept on giving. But as Mr. Simotes reminds us, “We did cut some. But this is Midsummer, cover to cover.”

 

“Midsummer” may last a Summer, but still a great show. Mr. Simotes whacked one out of the ballpark. but we aren't surprised.

 

--Richard DiMaggio, PointAPlace.com (a didyouweekend company)

didyouweekend@gmail.com

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Address: 70 Kemble Street, Lenox, MA, United States

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