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A Midsummer Night’s Dream…Michigan Shakespeare Festival 2015 Off to a Great Start July 12, 2015

Posted by ronannarbor in Entertainment, Michigan, Shakespeare, Theatre.
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Okay, truth be told, I should not review shows at the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, since I am the Vice Chair on the Board of Directors of the MSF. But that doesn’t mean I can’t tell you about it anyway. And its my blog. So if it happens to be a great production I can mention that, right? And not having had a hand in any aspect of the production (in fact, I saw it for the first time last night), I have some thoughts…

The MSF 2015 season opened with a rousing production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream last night. Swiftly and expertly directed by MSF Artistic Director Janice Blixt, the production times in at 2.5 hours with the intermission, and there’s a terrifically talented cast onstage.

Shawn Pfautsch is back! And he plays an impish and athletic Puck — another amazing role for him (some will recall he played Hamlet last summer for MSF). He effortlessly delivers his lines while romping around the forest-set, and he’s hilarious to boot. But its expertly crafted — watch one of his exits in which an invisible force pulls him offstage by one leg for example.

AMND is one of my personal Shakespearean favorites — not because its his most interesting, or funniest, or even most creative…but because it really is a showcase for actors and wide-open to the interpretation of directors. Everything in this production looks great, and the acting can’t be beat.

There are some lovely pairings here — David Blixt and Janet Haley as Oberon and Titania…Lydia Hiller and Brandon St Clair Saunders as Hermia and Lysander…and Laurel Schroeder and Milan Malisic as Helena and Demetrius.

The Rude Mechanicals are humorously played by Alan Ball (Bottom), David Turrentine, Dan Wilson, Edmund Alyn Jones, Eric Eilersen and Andy Head.

Matthew Fahey, Annie Keris, Daniel Helmer, Rick Eva, Sarah Pidgeon and Evelyn Blixt round out the wonderful cast. The well-known dialogue comes trippingly off the tongue across the board, and as usual at MSF the action is staged cleanly and it is all easy to follow, even for Shakespeare newbies.

It all looks and sounds great on Jeremy Hopgood’s set, with Renae Skoog’s costumes, Diana Fairchild’s lighting, and Kate Hopgood’s sound design and musical composition.

Its a great way to get the MSF season of too a terrific start — Henry IV (both parts) and Sheriden’s The Rivals follow with openings next weekend. All three productions move to the Village Theater on Cherry Hill in Canton two weeks from now.

MichiganShakespeareFestival.com for tickets. In repertory through August 16th.

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