Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Saturday, 29 September 2012 20:20

Saint Louis Shakespeare tackles a dream of a play with 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream'

Written by Connie Bollinger

The Details

Saint Louis Shakespeare tackles a dream of a play with 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream'
Photo by Kim Carlson

Shakespeare, that canny old Bard. I wonder what he would think if he could see this modern version of his work? Like me he'd probably love it, with a few exceptions.

St. Louis Shakespeare's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is a funny, energetic, well acted presentation of the familiar and timeless comedy of mistaken identity, misused love potions, fairy mischief, pratfalls, slapstick, you name it. The actors have to be agile, able to take a fall, all the while reciting lines that are written in incredibly difficult Old World English. It is a romp, a marathon, a race and therein lies the rub.

With a plot as complicated as this, with a play so crammed with phantasmagorical characters and incredible circumstances, it is essential that we are given the chance at least to decipher the dialogue. Director Donna Northcott seems to have sadly fallen into the familiar Shakespeare trap of mistaking fast paced for fast talking. Many of the Bard's best puns, jibes, sass talk, bawdy jokes and clever rhymes are lost in the scramble to keep it moving.

Michael Juncal is one of the few exceptions. His Oberon spoke clearly and cleverly, enunciating almost every delicious word and phrase. Only once or twice did he rush but then he immediately corrected his pace. He's one of the best Oberons I've ever seen.

Paul Edwards as Bottom and Joshua Nash Payne as Puck competed for scene stealer of the evening, giving wonderfully physical and interesting performances.Both gentlemen have a wonderful sense of comedic timing and have the ability to give us a myriad of facial expressions without actually sliding into mugging.

Fairy Queen Titania played by Njemile Ambonisye is lovely and regal, mischievous, passionate and slightly vindictive. She has just the right royal attitude.

From the featured players to the Queen's attending fairies and the hapless townsmen and woman rehearsing in that haunted wood, this production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is loads of fun and the finale is a stunner.

I have only one question for costume designer Wes Jenkins; why were the human characters all dressed in WWI garb? Jodhpurs and straw boaters and a double breasted suit didn't take the fun out for me, but I kept wondering, as I do whenever someone makes this costuming choice, what is the point?

No matter. It is a delightful production.

Additional Info

KDHX Recommends

February
Thursday
11

Folk Song Sing-A-Long

Folk Song Sing-A-Long Presented in partnership with the Folk School of KDHX, weekly meetings will discuss and sing different periods of folk music.  Presented by St. Louis OASIS.


February
Thursday
11

Welcome To Our Movie: The Bottle Rockets Live & In Person

In 2009, a live show by iconic Midwestern rock band The Bottle Rockets was filmed with the intention of releasing it as a live concert DVD. As the footage moved through post-production, it transformed into a more ambitious project...


February
Friday
12

Folk and Roots Sessions: The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers

The Folk & Roots Sessions, a 10-concert series spanning August, 2015 to May, 2016, will bring you new folk, bluegrass, old-time, Americana or country. Each month the Folk & Roots Sessions will feature one concert we think you...


SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook