Sunday, July 26, 2009

PB Shakes: A Midsummer Night's Dream (2 reviews)

Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival has been producing plays for 19 years. They've come a long way since that first production of The Scottish Play, which featured lighting designed by some guy who worked for FP&L, sets by a carpenter who once built a dock for Perry Como, and starred Keith In Boots. They've just debuted the new Seabreeze Amphitheater at Carlin Park with A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Kevin Crawford directs a cast that includes Kay Prins, Andrew Rinhart, Mary Stucchi, Patrick Wilkinson, Kris Parker, and himself as Bottom.

Hap Erstein reviewed for Palm Beach Arts Paper:
As usual, the Festival players are a ragtag group consisting of classically trained professionals, less experienced amateurs and student novices. Nevertheless, this Midsummer is reasonably well-spoken, clearly presented and it looks quite attractive on the Seabreeze stage, which allows more lighting options than the company had previously.
Any production of the play necessarily has to choose which of the three storylines to emphasize and Crawford seems to have wisely selected the quartet of lovers. Or maybe it comes off more vividly, thanks to fresh-faced, twinkle-eyed Mary Stucchi as Helena, who soon becomes the obsession of both Lysander and Demetrius. As Lysander, Andrew Rinehart grows in the role once a love potion turns him giddy.
Based on audience reaction, the Mechanicals’ broad comedy proved popular, though a bit too one-note hammy for my taste. As fledgling actors in the play-within-the-play, the group allowed Shakespeare to satirize some of the more extreme performance habits of his own troupe, as Crawford’s exaggerated histrionics as weaver Nick Bottom suggest. He brays with the best of them when transformed into a jackass -- literally -- to become the romantic target of Titania.
Pierre Tannous draws laughs in the role of the female Thisbe, though it is never clear whether his errant acting is intentional or not. And Seth Trucks is fitfully amusing as Snout the tinker, who is assigned the role of a wall between Tannous and Crawford.

Technical director Daniel Gordon contributes an ethereal multi-level, hill-and-cave set design, well complemented by his colorful lighting.
Kevin Thompson reviewed for the Palm Beach Post:
Perhaps feeling inspired by the new theater and opening night festivities, the show’s cast recited their lines with an extra amount of gusto and zip without going over the top. And if you’re at all familiar with Dream, that kind of amped-up enthusiasm serves that show well.
Kevin Crawford’s nimble direction kept the show moving at a brisk — and sometimes dizzying — pace. The festival’s artistic director clearly knows his way around the material since this isn’t the first time Dream has been produced.
Yeah, I know, it's not much of a review, is it? Thompson has never been much of a reviewer, and I guess the month since Yankee Tavern spent not reviewing plays has resulted in atrophy.

Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival presents A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Seabreeze Auditorium through July 26. Admission is free.

No comments:

Post a Comment