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In the high profile role of Puck, Oberon’s mischievous servant and the play’s sometime narrator, Adam Green fits well with his serious master, giving his fairy a more determined than playful feel. Though this slight edge is an interesting take on Puck, the lack of an equal amount of charm brings, at times, a bit of chill.
Carrying the subplot of the four would-be lovers, Robert Beitzel, Amelia Pedlow, Christiana Clark and Chris Myers bring much earthly energy and humor to their nearly thwarted romances. Beitzel is a cleverly idiosyncratic Lysander, managing the bard’s language through a comically modern prism and yet remaining quite convincing. As his paramour, Hermia, Pedlow brings an appealing and credible blend of innocence and intelligence, even if her diction could use a bit more crisping. Clark starts slowly and somewhat out of synch with the language, but as the emotional demands of the role increase, so do her fluency and expression, even if she never quite captures the pathos of Helena’s rejection.
As Demetrius, the man who runs from and then to Helena, Myers offers much comic timing and is very much at home with the bard.
The so-called Mechanicals, otherwise the acting troupe, are a comic mix of male bodies, ages and abilities. High in subtle comedy is Ted van Griethuysen as Quince, who brings the perfect blend of hope and despair to his erstwhile “director.” His comic opposite, but no less funny, is Bruce Dow’s Bottom, the weaver turned high-octane thespian, whose first “rehearsal” almost steals the show. Though his encasing in the infamous donkey head via Puck’s magic subdues much of his comic flair, Dow holds his own and makes a good foil to the besotted Titania. Another standout is David Graham Jones as Flute, whose “lady” does much to rescue the troupe’s rather laborious performance for King Theseus (also played by Tim Campbell) and his new queen Hippolyta (given some interesting frisson by Sara Topham). Mastering Peter Pucci’s effective choreography, the background fairies glide through more than a few moves, dances and acrobatics with much seamless grace.
A night of laughs and dreamy, sensuous magic, this Midsummer is much ”the best in this kind.”