An imaginatively staged and intense production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream features great acting and fine production work to bring William Shakespeare’s hilarious story of romance to life.
Shakespeare’s story focuses on two off and on couples, Hermia (Jill Renner), Lysander (Brian Combs), Demetrius (Michael Rachlis), and Helena (Jennifer Allcott), looking for love. Fairies Oberon (Jesse Steccato) and Puck (Rudy Martinez) play a little mischief to get back at Titania (Caroline Kinsolving), but all’s well that ends well.
Director Don K. Williams inspires his cast to fine acting. Kinsolving as Titania, David Lengel as Peter Quince, Rudy Martinez as Puck, Rachlis as Demetrius, and Combs as Lysander give strong performances that demonstrate realistic language and excellent timing. Ben Rathbun as Nick Bottom stands out for his Jim Carrey-like performance featuring physical movement, multiple voices, and expressiveness. Energy levels, timing, and pacing remain active and quick. Most actors make the Shakespearean prose appear current and natural, though there are a few stumbles.
Creative production work enhances the show. Michael Allen’s imaginative use of simple props like leaves and blocks visually establish the forest and city. Kelly Ruiz’s costumes convincingly set the show in modern day, from the city’s business suits, maintenance men uniforms, to punk inspired fairy outfits. Johnny Patrick Yoder creates unique lighting with blue filamented lightbulbs suspended overhead, creating an evening sky of fireflies or twilight.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream envisions an elegant, impressionistic world of dreams, brought to life by excellent acting and production work.
The Stella Adler Studio of Acting New York/Art of Acting Studio Los Angeles, Tom Oppenheim, and the Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater Company present A Midsummer Night’s Dream Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays June 24 and July 1 at 3 p.m. through July 7 at the Art of Acting Studio located at 1017 N. Orange Dr. in Hollywood. Tickets cost $15. For information or reservations, call (323) 501-5310, or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.