BWW Reviews: Denver Center's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a feast of midsummer madness, mischievous fairies, mismatches lovers and musical merchants colliding hilariously in one of Shakespeare's most madcap and accessible comedies. When two pairs of lovers find refuge in the forest, a misguided fairy unleashes comical chaos with a love potion. "The course of true love never did run smooth"; now everyone must untangle the mismatched relationships in pursuit of wedded bliss. This web of magic in the Athenian woods casts a powerful, pleasing spell on audiences of all ages. A Midsummer Night's Dream was the first Shakespearean production produced by the Denver Center Theatre Company in its inaugural season in 1980.
After a bumpy start in the first couple of scenes, the production really found it's rhythm (with the help of several energetic fairies). John Hutton was one of the best Oberon's I have ever seen and had amazing stage presence. Michael Wartella did a wonderful job as Puck and I really enjoyed that he was the one character to ad-lib and interact with the audience. It was also refreshing to see children as the fairy attendants. That and the addition of song really gave the show a youthful and playful touch.
The young lovers were comical and fun to watch, and the staging was so physical that I felt like I had bruises! National Theater Conservatory students Caitlin Wise (Hermia) and Allison Pistorius (Helena) really rose to the occasion of this main stage show!
The mechanicals (the actors of the play within a play) did an excellent job and really got the audience involved in the play. I have to mention that at times they did go a little overboard (Did Snug really pick his nose in Shakespeare?). I also found it odd that when Bottom is "transformed" his accent turned Southern (did I not get the memo...are donkeys southern?). But above all of these little eccentricities, the Play of Pyramus and Thisbe was one of the highlights of the show!
The scenic design by John Iacovelli was visually stunning and the costume design by Bill Black was elegant and gorgeous. I commend the Denver Center Theatre Company and director (and DCTC Artistic Director) Kent Thompson for making beloved Shakespeare piece relatable and enjoyable for the entire audience. It was wonderful to see the audience really get into the show and I was delighted to see so many youth in the audience. It should be noted that A Midsummer Night's Dream is part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is currently playing now through February 26th at the Stage Theater of the Denver Center. For tickets of more information please call the box office at 303-893-4100 or visit www.denvercenter.org.
PHOTO CREDITS: Terry Shapiro
John Hutton as Oberon and Kathleen McCall at Titania
Kathleen McCall as Titania and Lawrence Hecht as Bottom
(L-R) Chad Callaghan (Flute/Thisbe), Tom Coiner (Snout/Wall) and Lawrence Hecht (Bottom/Pyramus)