Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare)

| February 16, 2012 | 1 Comment

Titania (Tracy Michelle Arnold) professes her love to the magically transformed Bottom (Ron Orbach) in CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin's production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, now playing at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)       
      
A Midsummer Night’s Dream 

Written by William Shakespeare  
Directed by Gary Griffin 
at Chicago Shakespeare, Navy Pier (map)
thru April 8  |  tickets: $44-$75   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     



     
       

Things are getting hilariously Pucked up!

     

Oberon (Timothy Edward Kane, right) awakens Titania (Tracy Michelle Arnold) from his spell, as Puck (Elizabeth Ledo) looks on, in CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin's production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, now playing at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)

    
Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents
    
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Review by Katy Walsh 

And, most dear actors, eat no onions nor garlic,
for we are to utter sweet breath; and I do not doubt
but to hear them say, it is a sweet comedy.
No more words: away! go, away!    –
Nick Bottom

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Three worlds collide over love.  In the actor world, Peter Quince gathers the local talent to produce a show.  In the mortal world, Helena wants Demetrius who wants Hermia who wants Lysander.   In the fairy world, King Oberon is mad at Queen Titania. Oberon elicits his sidekick Puck to create some magical mayhem.  Puck’s meddling extends into all realms. An actor turns ass.  A lover turns cold.  A Queen turns fool.  Lives are getting Oberon (Timothy Edward Kane) casts a love spell on Titania (Tracy Michelle Arnold) in CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin's production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, now playing at Chicago Shakespeare Theater through April 8, 2012.hilariously pucked up!  A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a wildly innovative romp in the woods.   

Director Gary Griffin masterfully takes William Shakespeare’s classic and actualizes every possible comedic element.  The dialogue is witty precision.  The action is slapstick buffoonery.  And the visual is wacky fairy fun.  Set in the 1920’s, the costumes, designed by Mara Blumenfield, are stylish elegance.  Whether courting, hunting or lounging, the mortals are dressed exquisitely.  The fairies, on the other hand, look like something right out of a kid’s imagination: striped silk pajamas, sunglasses and distinctively different head garb.  The vibrantly clad group add to the dreamy illusion of the play.  In contrast, Oberon and Titania rule their oddballs dressed in beautiful flowing enchantment.  On a sparse set, the huge and talented cast are the scenery.  The visual is gorgeous. 

And then there’s Puck.     

Puck makes an unexpected entrance.  (I won’t say anymore because I enjoyed the amusing surprise.)  But once he arrives, the magic really starts.  Elizabeth Ledo (Puck) is amazing.  Ledo blurs the gender divide with visual and vocal alterations.  Despite opening night hoarseness, Ledo delivers a high-energy and uproarious performance. Her small stature zips around the stage like a sprite on pixiedust.  The chemistry between her and Timothy Edward Kane (Theseus/Oberon) cackles with jocularity.  Kane plays it deliciously arrogant and manipulative.  The duo is a vaudevillian-style hoot.  Snug (Richard Manera) performs the role of a lion in a play with his fellow mechanicals, while members of the court look on, in CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin's production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, now playing at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)The target of Kane’s prank is the lovely Tracy Michelle Arnold (Hippolyta, Titania).  As duchess or queen, Arnold commits to the joke with sophisticated deadpan.  She is bewitched into loving Ron Orbach (Bottom). The fairy flower is potent because it affects the entire audience.  Everyone falls for Orbach as one lovable ass! Tim Kazurinsky (Peter Quince) is another standout.  Kazurinsky brings his well-known humorous persona and ‘Shakes’ it up.  The results are hysterical.   

Griffin paces it for non-stop laughs. The merrymaking ensemble swirls and twirls through the madcap romances.  This show charms with frolicsome fun!  A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a sweet comedy!

  
Rating: ★★★★
  
   

A Midsummer Night’s Dream continues through April 8th at Chicago Shakespeare Theater,800 E. Grand, Navy Pier (map), with performances Tuesdays-Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 8pm, and matinees on Wednesdays at 1pm, Saturdays at 3pm, and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets are $44-$75, and are available by phone (phonenumber) or online here (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at ChicagoShakes.com(Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes, which includes one intermission)

Hermia (Christina Nieves, right) is outraged by the insults launched at her by (l-r) Demetrius (Matt Schwader), Helena (Laura Huizenga) and Lysander (Andrew Truschinski), while Oberon (Timothy Edward Kane) observes the chaos his magic has created, in CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin's production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, now playing at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. (photo credit: Liz Lauren) Peter Quince (Tim Kazurinsky) directs fellow mechanical Flute (Levenix Riddle) in CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin's production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, now playing at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)
Puck (Elizabeth Ledo) is transformed back into a member of Theseus’ court in CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin's production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, now playing at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. (photo credit: Liz Lauren) Hippolyta (Tracy Michelle Arnold, third from left) and Theseus (Timothy Edward Kane, fourth from right) meet with members of the court in anticipation of their upcoming nuptials, in CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin's production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, now playing at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)

All photos by Liz Lauren


     

artists

cast

Ron Orbach (Nick Bottom); Tim Kazurinsky (Peter Quince); Tracy Michelle Arnold (Hippolyta/Titania); Timothy Edward Kane (Theseus/Oberon); Elizabeth Ledo (Puck); Maggie Kettering (Puck u/s); Richard Manera (Snug); Michael Aaron Lindner (Snout); Matt Schwader (Demetrius); Rod Thomas (Starveling); Andrew Truschinski (Lysander); Kurt Ehrmann (Egeus); Tim Gittings (Theseus Attendant); Laura Huizenga (Helena); Christina Nieves (Hermia); Sean Parris (Philostrate); Levenix Riddle (Flute); Matthew Abraham, Chase Jones (Changeling Boys); Heidi Buyck, Evan Michalic, Emma van Ommermen (ensemble)

behind the scenes

Gary Griffin (director); Daniel Ostling (set); Mara Blumenfeld (costumes); Philip S. Rosenberg (lighting); Mike Tutaj (projections); Rob Milburn, Michael Bodeen (composers, sounds designers); Melissa Veal (wig and makeup); David Woolley (fight director); Matt Raftery (choreography); Kevin Gudahl (verse coach); Chelsea Meyers (props); Liz Lauren (photos)

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Category: 2012 Reviews, Chicago Shakespeare, Katy Walsh, Navy Pier, William Shakespeare

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