BWW Reviews: Ballet Austin Presents Gorgeous, Charming MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, produced by Ballet Austin, plays The Long Center for the Performing Arts at 701 W. Riverside Drive, Austin, 78704. Performances are 8pm on Friday 9/13 and Saturday 9/14 and 3pm on Sunday 9/15. Tickets are $12-$75. Tickets are also on sale for Ballet Austin's next production, The Nutcracker, which plays December 7 - 23. For tickets and information, please visit www.balletaustin.org
Any theater-goer must have some passing familiarity with William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, arguably the screwball comedy in which fairies use a magical flower to make two sets of humans fall in love with each other. No such flower is needed here to elicit the audience's love and affection. Ballet Austin's production of Midsummer is a spectacular, charming, riotously funny, and an instant crowd-pleaser.
At just shy of two hours, the ballet is far shorter than Shakespeare's original play, and that allows for choreographer Stephen Mills to present the material at a breakneck speed that greatly adds to the comedy. While there are plenty of beautiful, traditional pas de deux, there are several of moments in which Mills cleverly peppers the choreography with slapstick and physical comedy. A particular sequence in which both Lysander (Frank Shott) and Demetrius (Christopher Swaim) are both bewitched by the fairies to fall for Helena (Jaime Lynn Witts) to the dismay of Demetrius's lover, Hermia (Ashley Lynn Gilfix), is a major highlight of the production. As the four perform the madcap sequence, they earn laugh after laugh, proving that they are gifted comedic actors as well as splendid dancers. Another moment in which the beautiful and graceful Titania (Aara Krumpe) is enamored with donkey-headed, flea infested Bottom (Edward Carr) is quite whimsical and amusing.