Lovers Full of Joy and Mirth

The effervescent Frog & Peach Theatre Company is back on 86th Street and West End (see my earlier post on their Two Gentlemen of Verona). This time it’s Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Each of the four plots contains lovers temporarily out of joint, until the action sets the tale right: classic warriors Theseus and  his injured Amazon Queen; four young romantics on cruel tenterhooks; fairies with their donkey-partnered queen; laborers staging a clumsy love tragedy.  One way to play the play is to track its course from stern formality to festive fantasy. After all, Egeus begins by condemning his daughter to death. Beautiful Treasure Davidson, as Hippolyta, has been felled in war. There are battles, marches, hunts. Bad fairies menace  the world with punishing mischief. The foreboding resides mainly in the language. Typically this company likes to descant on the excited high notes from start to finish.  Giddy gymnastics prevail. The rude mechanics are a triumph. Eric Doss’s hairy-eared Bottom makes a  supremely elegant, fatuous ass for Titania. Finally Bottom’s talented theatrical bumblers steal the show with a tasty “Pyramus and Thisbe” for the culminating wedding masque. Good-humored fun, and take the family. Through May 20. www.frogandpeach.org

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Copyright 2013 Marcelle Thiebaux