HoNkBarK Productions' somewhat uneven interpretation of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" features fighting, accordions, cross-gender casting, platform boots and ample silliness, which makes it a safe bet for even the Shakespeare-phobes among us. Falling somewhere short of inspired, the production manages more than a few luminous moments, picking up speed as it goes and delivering a beautifully clowned Pyramus and Thisbe in the second act.
Lysander is a lady, which makes for some generally successful same-sex coupling, thanks to Linda Jones’s strong performance. Earle Hugens’ sad Puck has seen better days, his gut hangs over his furry pants. Otherwise, things are much as you expect them to be-- confused lovers are tripping through the wood, fairies are causing mischief. The real joys are when Quince and his players take the stage, led by Sara Moore’s remarkable Bottom. Her cross-eyed, ass-headed excitement recalls Burt Lahr’s Cowardly Lion on speed.
Director John Ficarra is determined to make use of the multi-level stage, which means somebody is obligated to leap eight feet into the crash mat about every three minutes. Though the fight choreography isn’t as sharp as it should be, and the first act has its lulls, there is a lot to like about this “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and Hippolyta is right when she declares, “This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.”
Vital Theatre Company (at McGinn Cazale Theatre)
2162 Broadway, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10024
Thursday 8:00pm / Friday 8:00pm / Saturday 8:00pm / Sunday 6:00pm
According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.