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Review
A Midsummer Night's Dream
by The Globe Theatres

William Shakespeare's most magical comedy is brought to dreamy new heights in the Old Globe Theatre's latest production, and the woods outside of ancient Athens will never be quite the same. When Hermia is about to be married against her will to Demetrius, she and her lover Lysander decide to elope, fleeing the city at night. Demetrius attempts to catch up with them, while he, himself, is romantically pursued by Hermia's friend, Helena. But strange things can happen in the forest, and these four lovers will soon be unwittingly entangled in the lives and lusts of the mischievous fairies who reside in the woods and take great delight in playing with humans.

As usual, the Globe brought together an impeccable cast with nary a weak link. The human and fairy lovers play their parts with great passion and sensuality, with Helena (Gretchen Egolf) giving a standout performance as the Plain Jane friend of Hermia in pursuit of Demetrius, who suddenly finds both Demetrius and Lysander in pursuit of her and isn't quite sure how to take her newfound fame.

But the greatest stars of this show are the hilarious group of amateur actors who go into the woods to rehearse an upcoming play. Nick Bottom (J. Fred Shiffman) is the cocky actor who gets turned into an ass and soon discovers that his new long ears, long tail, and so on seem to be a big attraction to the enchanted fairy queen, Titania (Caroline Lagerfelt). John Harrington Bland, playing Tom Snout, is not at all bland in the challenging role of "The Wall." Lucas Caleb Rooney plays the not-so-ferocious lion (and a terrifying headless bear!). Matthew Floyd Miller is Francis Flute, awkwardly and nervously portraying the maiden with the high-pitched voice. John Towey is the doleful crescent moon who emits "sunshine" wherever he goes. And leading the band of misfit actors is James Winker as Peter Quince -- the man in the funny hat. Together this group steals the show, especially at the end when all their rehearsal time pays its dividends with a most hysterical performance.

Although if they didn't steal the show, then Scenic Designer Tony Fanning and Lighting Designer Nancy Schertier did with some of the most stunning visual treats of the year. An eldritch forest setting, a luminous full moon that converts into a regal bedroom for Titania, a magic portal through which Puck enters and exits, the Athena Gasoline station where the amateur actors have their real job. Add to all that clever uses of modern-day wonders such as a bubble-maker, a camera, and a stuffed lion from the San Diego Zoo, and you can tell that the creative team led by Director Kyle Donnelly (Orson's Shadow) had a great time putting this one together. And you'll have a great time watching this wondrous, new vision of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Rob Hopper
San Diego Playbill

~ Cast ~

Theseus/Oberon: Aloysius Gigi
Hippolyta/Titania: Caroline Lagerfelt
Puck/Philostrate: Orlando Pabotoy
Egeus: John Campion
Hermia: Abigail Lopez
Lysander: Chris Butler Johnson
Demetrius: Scott Ferrara
Helena: Gretchen Egolf
Peter Quince: Jim Winker
Nick Bottom: J. Fred Shiffman
Francis Flute: Matthew Miller
Tom Snout: John Harrington Bland
Robin Starveling: John Towey
Snug: Lucas Caleb Rooney
Oberon's Henchmen:
Brian Ibsen
Robert Scott Smith
First Fairy: Rosalie Tenseth
Fairies:
D'Vorah Bailey
Tami Mansfield
Michele Vazquez
Percussion:
Morris Palter
Aiyun Huang

Director: Kyle Donnelly
Scenic Design: Tony Fanning
Costume Design: Ann Hould Ward
Lighting Design: Nancy Schertier
Original Composition and Sound Design: Michael Roth
Stage Manager: D. Adams