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BWW Reviews: American Repertory Ballet Rendition of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM is Superb

On Friday, February 27th, the American Repertory Ballet (ARB) and the Rutgers University Symphony Orchestra concluded its two-night only engagement at the State Theater NJ in New Brunswick with a superb rendition of William Shakespeare's, A Midsummer's Night Dream.

Under the artistic direction of Douglas Martin, the ARB company offered a high-energy performance, whose superior choreography flowed effortlessly and gracefully. The characters played their roles exceptionally well. Theseus, Duke of Athens, and Hipployta, Queen of the Amazon, played by Mattia Pallozzi and Samantha Gullace, respectively, demonstrated regality, in a delightful pas de deux in the first act, and again in a bookending appearance toward the conclusion of the two-act play.

The central characters in the plot of this at times asymmetrical love story were vibrant. Monica Giragosian as Hermia, the petulant daughter who did not accept her father's chosen spouse for her, preferring another, was particularly outstanding in her role. Her talent as a dancer and actress were evident, as she magnetized the audience with dance and expressiveness. Her father, Edward Urwin as Egeus, though only in a cameo part, embodied the frustration of a parent of a defiant teenage daughter, eliciting understanding nods from parents in attendance.

The sometimes seemingly frenetic slapstick of the four-way love quadrilateral was well played. The orchestra, superbly led by Conductor Kynan Johns, enhanced the emotions emanating from the stage, keeping pace with the characters' variety of feelings and movements, including adding punch to the slaps and a staccato chime to the love taps. Its overlay of Mendelssohn in Act I was perfect.

Oberon, King of the Fairies, and his Queen Titania, played by Marc St-Pierre and Shaye Firer respectively, displayed superior grace and elegance in their dancing sets. Their expressiveness, Oberon as a plotter and Titania upon learning she was attracted to an ass, was amusing. They displayed great skill in a variety of formats.

While the orchestra was the pace of the play, Puck, played brilliantly by Jacopo Jannelli, was its pulse. You knew the play through Puck. His disgust with the leader of the craftsman, and his playfulness, confusion, and surprise around sprinkling a precursor to Love Potion #9 in the wrong suitor's eyes were just two examples of how he provided silently artful narration.

The set design gave the desired context. Its Parthenon-like columns in Act I and the dark forest through which the chorus magically appeared in Act II were splendid complements. On a cold February night, the ARB and the Rutgers Symphony Orchestrated performed a dream for all seasons.

The NJ State Theater is located at 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ. Information about upcoming performances can be found at and by calling the Ticket Office at 732-246-7469.

For information about future performances by the American Repertory Ballet and ticketing for such can be found at

Photo Credit: American Repertory Ballet

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