Friday, September 07, 2007

A Midsummer Night's Dream

photo: Michal Daniel

Well worth lining up for this (final) weekend, the Daniel Sullivan-directed ...Midsummer's... is easily one of the most entertaining productions of Shakespeare to grace Central Park in recent years. There are plenty of reasons why the production shouldn't come off as well as it does - the play's darker ruminations are breezed over, the set (mostly, a single gnarled tree) and the costumes (which riff on Edwardian England) don't work well together, in a handful of instances the dialogue has been turned into lyrics to inadvertently alienating effect. But none of that matters so much while basking in the glow of this charming production, which emphasizes all that is screwball in the comedy and which boasts a better, more unified ensemble than has become the Shakespeare In The Park norm. Here, the gals among the four central lovers are more emphasized than the guys, with Mireille Enos a strong, substantial Hermia and Martha Plimpton a strikingly resilient and passionate Helena. Although she flubs part of her first scene by racing through it, Laila Robins is a delight once her Titania is bewitched by love's spell and dewey-eyed over an ass-faced actor (played with gusto by Jay O. Sanders).

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