Sunday, June 10, 2007

ASC: A Midsummer Night's Dream

That certainly was a fun night at the theater. Lately, all the performances I've been to at the Blackfriars Playhouse have been well-attended (it's a good sign when there are people in the upper sections, and there were quite a few last night), and that also usually creates extra energy in the performance. Since this is the same cast that is concurrently performing Cyrano de Bergerac and Julius Caesar, it's hard not to compare. I'd say definitely that Cyrano is the standout of the season (as I said at the time I saw it on opening night, it's one of the best I've ever seen at the ASC). And while I liked how they did Julius Caesar, this A Midsummer's Night Dream ranks second. The costumes were great, the timing excellent for maximum hilarity, the interaction with the audience was terrific. (There was a kid on one of the onstage stools and the actors seemed drawn to him; the boy was a great sport about it all.) It helps that this is probably my favorite Shakespeare Play. (Hey, I have a favorite. What's yours?)

Henry Bazemore, Jr. was a good Oberon, King of the fairies, although he played him as part crow, part bat (flapping his cape like a bat, cawing like a crow) and a better Theseus, Duke of Athens. Jonathan Maccia was okay as Lysander, although he doesn't invest Shakespeare's lines with the kind of rhythm and energy that the other actors do. Lillian Wright was fantastic as both Hippolyta and Titania. (Her realistically red hair as Hippolyta and her outrageously red wig as Titania made for a stunning visual connection between the two characters.) Tyler Moss was very good as Puck and interacted with the audience (as they all do in this setting) brilliantly. At one point when Puck is asking rhetorically if the sleeping Athenian he's found isn't the man Oberon commanded him to put under a spell, he addressed a woman sitting in the Lord's Box (Juliet's Balcony) where the rest of the audience could plainly see. She shook her head (since we all knew this was Lysander and not Demetrius, the intended victim). Puck played with her reaction perfectly but she stuck her answer. Later, when Puck is making excuses, he pleads his case to her. It was a funny moment. Adam Jonas Segaller was also very good as Demetrius, Sybille Bruun was an outstanding Helena and 1st Fairy, Joseph Langham was very funny as Peaseblossom and Snug. Funniest of all, overbearing, was Kevin Pierson as Bottom.

A very good performance and my last of this season, since the Resident Troupe picks up in a week or so with the Summer/Fall season: Romeo and Juliet, Love's Labour's Lost, The Winter's Tale and Antony Cleopatra.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reviewing A Midsummer Night's Dream. I am sorry you did not enjoy my performance but I am pleased that it seems you were fond of the show overall. I trust you will continue to visit the Blackfriars Playhouse and I have no doubt you will enjoy the upcoming Renaissance Season as it looks to be a great one.

JM

Anonymous said...

correction: "Resident Reason"

(Although, what the hell, the Ren Season turns out great work as well.)

JM

Clifford Garstang said...

Jonathan,
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you aren't offended by my comment. It certainly was an excellent show and I only wonder how it could be even better! And not to worry, I'm a regular at Blackfriars and am looking forward to the new season.