BWW Review: Tantrum Theater Stages Shakespeare with Boldness and Beauty
It might only be June, but Tantrum Theater channels the magic of midsummer into its production of a Shakespearean classic.
Performed at the Abbey Theater in the Dublin Community Recreation Center, A Midsummer Night's Dream is a creative and colorful rendition of William Shakespeare's comedic play about romance gone awry.
Featuring a cast of 25, the play tells a story complete with fate-bending fairies, fanciful flirtation and troublesome trickery. As the action unfolds, audiences are transported between realms, traversing through the glittery and glamorous fairy kingdom and the fog-filled forests of Athens (Ohio, of course, considering Tantrum's connection to Ohio University).
Adding to the otherworldly atmosphere, scenic designer C. David Russell and lighting designer Jonathan Spencer spin a web of enchantment that dazzles the senses with an imaginatively decorated dreamland of gauzy fabrics and shimmering crystals.
The show-stopping costumes designed by Helene Seibrits are awe-inspiring and beautifully crafted. A fusion of high-fashion structured silhouettes and playful pops of spiky punk-rock accessories transform Shakespeare's legion of fairies into a couture-clad court. Indeed, the stage resembles a runway as each new outfit is unveiled, creating a collection that is both futuristic and fantastical.
Tantrum Theater's accomplished cast, comprising a diverse group of children, current college students, recent graduates from Ohio University and professional actors from around the country, gamely engages in the play's fast-paced dialogue. In each scene, the actors embrace the script's linguistic puzzles and cheeky wordplay, mastering the stanzas written by the Bard of Avon with a fluency seemingly as effortless as their everyday speech.
As the mischievous Puck, Kim Blanck commands the stage, laughing gleefully while carrying out Oberon's (Fajer Kaisi) bidding. In a gender-swapped performance, Vishaal Reddy portrays Helenus, whose lovesick pining over Demetrius (Max Monning) is immediately endearing. And in the comedic role of Nick Bottom, Basil Harris generates many laughs as the hilarious and high-maintenance star of a traveling troupe of actors.
It is always a gamble to mix modernity into a literary masterwork, but the elements of
novelty incorporated into Tantrum Theater's show are accepted in good humor. Although the song and dance numbers serve mainly to please the parents in the audience, the incorporation of technological aspects from our everyday lives, such as selfies and cellphones, brings freshness and fun to a tried and true on-stage staple.
Bright, brilliant and bravely reinventive, this is a dream from which you won't want to wake.
A Midsummer Night's Dream will be performed through June 17.
For more information about the show and to purchase tickets, visit Tantrum Theater's website.
The Abbey Theater is located inside the Dublin Community Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road, in Dublin, Ohio.