Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Captivating Midsummer Night’s Dream at Coronado Playhouse

A Midsummer Night's DreamBy Paola Hornbuckle

Fresh and dynamic, this version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Coronado Playhouse’s 15th Annual FREE Shakespeare is one you don’t want to miss. A visual and musical delight bursting with originality and charm and a stage literally sparkling with lights and magical fairies is the fare for the night. How innovative to have the fairies dance to international numbers including exotic Indian belly-dances, African dances, and Simon and Garfunkel! On a funny note, the people sitting next to me at the table commented, “This is the first time we have been able to follow a Shakespearean play.” I have to admit I found that the American accents made the play enjoyably accessible.

I felt the actors to be very well cast in this comedy about unrequited love and love at first sight. Renee Ulloa-McDonald (Helena) is lovable and comical, her comic timing and giggly naivete’ adding a lightness to her role as the spurned love-struck maiden that easily turns from tragedy to amusement when she becomes the desired love object. Amanda Osborn (Hermia) is pleasant but slightly smug, her calmness slowly giving away until the panic of a scorned woman sets in. Her incredulous expression at being spurned by her lover says it all. Theodore Martland (Demetrius) as the handsome and slightly arrogant spurned suitor of Hermia and beloved of Helena, and Nathan Boyer (Lysander) ardent with a quick temper and chosen of Hermia who unwittingly falls for Helena, are very well-suited for their parts.

Ashley Foughty (Puck) is lovely and full of mischief, Marty Greenberg (Peter Quince) was quite funny with his raspy, strident gangster-era voice. Danielle Gallaher (Titania) made for a proud and lofty queen falling for Martin White (Nick Bottom) the big-hearted and jolly weaver who plays the ass in the amateur play. Terence Burke (Oberon) always pleases onstage with his velvety and comfortable performance of the mayhem-causing monarch. Frank Godinez has a gift for melodrama and shines in the play within a play. Also playing are Cindy Moorhouse Fischer (Cobweb), Joseph Mancini (Robin Starveling), Stephen McLaughlin, Sr. (Egeus), Hanna Mussey (Mustardseed), the striking Bailey Neill (Hyppolyta), David O’neal (Theseus), Ryan Payne (Tom Snout), Bella Rivera (Moth), Patty Faye (Willow), Sonja Cash (Peaceblossom) and Mike Edmond (Sung the Joiner). I was particulary captivated by Angela Ahern (Lily) and loved her dance performances.

Directed by veteran actor/director Keith A. Anderson, costume designed by Mary Anderson and Jane Russell, wonderful set by Rosemary King, and what amazing musical direction and sound design by Ashley Foughty and dance choreography by Diana Valero-Olivier. Playing through Sept. 25, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 p.m and Sundays at 2 p.m.


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