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Manhattan Ensemble Theatre is currently offering a fun and family friendly retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream called Fools in Love. Set in 1950s California, Fools in Love follows Hermia, Bottom, Puck, and company on a Doo Wop musical romp incorporating such classic ‘50s tunes as “Unchained Melody,” “Leader of the Pack,” and “Tequila” (cleverly changed to, “Titania;” this is family friendly, after all!).
The cast does an excellent job of keeping their characters animated enough for the young audiences to stay engaged, while also carefully avoiding resorting to completely over-the-top farce. Jacqueline Raposo’s Hermia and Breeda Keely Wool’s Helena were particularly engaging.
While the children in the audience appeared to be thoroughly entertained, the fact that the show is performed without an intermission may have been the its main drawback, as far as the target audience is concerned. Fools in Love clocks in at over two hours, including the pre-show activities including a brief lesson in stage combat and a bout of Name-That-Shakespeare-Play. As a result, as the show neared its conclusion, some of the younger members of the audience grew a bit restless.
Despite the slight issue with the running time, Fools in Love proves to be a wonderful introduction to Shakespeare for children. The bright sets and costumes, along with the Doo Wop music help to keep the show upbeat and accessible, while still remaining true to the bard’s original text.
Manhattan Ensemble Theatre55 Mercer Street (At Broome Street) New York NY 10013
Dates & Times:
Monday @ 7:30pm, Thursday @ 7:30pm, Friday @ 7:30pm, Saturday @ 2pm & 8pm, Sunday @ 1pm & 6:30pm
Beginning January 2: Monday @ 7:30pm, Friday @ 7:30pm, Saturday @ 2pm & 8pm, Sunday @ 1pm & 6:30pm
Beginning February 13: Monday @ 7:30pm, Friday @ 7:30pm, Saturday @ 8pm, Sunday @ 1pmOn sale thru June 30
$40; Children's Tickets: $19.00 (tickets for children 10 and under are available at the Box Office only or by calling 1-212-239-6210).