‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company by Grace Kim


Escape from your daily grind and let the beautiful poetry of Shakespeare’s lyrical tale take you to another realm. That realm belongs to darling mischievous Puck – as you will witness in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s a story about a love rectangle, with an underdog (Helena), who gets her love ultimately, thanks to the meddling fairies in this Athenian world (clearly an oversimplification – but you get the gist).

The cast of Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ Photo by Scott Suchman.

Whether you are a seasoned expert to Shakespeare or fresh newbie to his works, Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is divinely entertaining and a magnificent show to see. And, I want to reiterate to those out there who might be nervous about Shakespeare for one reason or another, have no fear because this production is a fun follow and quite palpable. Many facets make this production a fascinating joy.

Director Ethan McSweeney’s choice to stage a stage-within-a-stage to showcase the different worlds really worked beautifully to bring the various stories together. Also helping to bring this classic work to new life is the gorgeous design and staging by Set Designer Lee Savage. Adding to the visual artistry that I really enjoyed were the costumes worn by the fairies, designed by Costume Designer Jennifer Moeller. I would describe the look as maybe “vintage romantic carnivale with a touch of punk” and I adored it! I was also very pleased to see a modern twist to the costuming for the rest of the cast — evoking looks from the ’40s – brilliantly bringing fresh life to this classic.

The other facet that really makes this production stand out is the perfect casting, and watching these top-notch actors perform was a true treat. Adam Green (Philostrate/Puck) does devious imp as Puck so well that you want him on your side if you ever need a mischievous little devil. Bruce Dow (Nick Bottom) as the leading Mechanicals, steals the show with such superb theatrical bravado and comedic richness. Speaking of, the comedic elements were very rich and delightfully entertaining mostly (but not all) thanks to the antics of the Mechanicals, whose theatrics were even more engaging because of this adorable cast’s age! (You’ll have to go see the play to know what I mean). Sara Topham (Hippolyta/Titania) really shines in her role as Hippolyta, And Tim Campbell (Theseus/Oberon) is perfectly commanding as Theseus, king of the Athenians and as Oberon, king of the fairies.

There is so much to enjoy in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s the perfect holiday show!

Amelia Pedlow (Hermia) and Robert Beitzel (Lysander). Photo by Scott Suchman.

Running Time: Two hours and thirty minutes, including a 15 minute intermission.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream plays through December 30, 2012, at Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall – 610 F Street, in Washington D.C.  For tickets, purchase them online, or call the box office at (202) 547-1122.

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Read a synopsis of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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