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A Midsummer Night’s Dream full of laughs and comedy

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Shakespeare in the Park returned to their roots with a performance of A Midsummer Nights Dream in Galt Gardens, July 30.

 With the temperatures hovering around 30 even at night,  the conditions were ideal to have an actual MidSummer’s Night’s dream, though I defy anyone to fall asleep during this production with all of the physical comedy and hilarity ensuing.

Megan Fennell and Trevor Loman in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Photo by Richard Amery

 

The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance society’s very first production, 10 seasons ago was also A Midsummer Nights Dream this time they have more experience and custom designed costumes and a talented new cast, featuring mostly university students under the same director as the original, Andrew Legg.

The only cast member from the first production is Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society mainstay Jeff Graham, who is double cast as the duke and one of Titania’s fairies Mustard-seed.

 

Addison Gatner and Autumn Adrian play well off each other as friends torn apart by magical flowers and mischievous fairies. My favourite scene between their characters of Hermia and Helena is the exchange of insults, mostly making fun of Hermia’s height. 

 

 Like in the original, the supporting cast pretty much stole the show, from in the midst of a whirlwind of chaos created by jealous husband, Fairy King Oberon played by a menacing Cole Fetting and his Queen, Titiana, played by Megan Fennell.

 

The play is a love story gone horribly wrong with hilarious results after Oberon decides he wants Titania’s adopted child, and sets his hyperactive servant Puck, played with jittery energy by Chris Kyle Peterson on the case with the help of magical flowers designed to make the recipient fall in love with the next person or animal they see. Hilarity ensues when Puck turns the flamboyant actor Bottom (Trevor Loman) into a half man half-ass beast who Titania falls in love with and has her attendants spoil him.

Fennell, who made her Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society debut as one of the witches in Macbeth, is always a pleasure to watch perform. She shows a couple different sides of her character as contemptuous wife of Oberon, then her lovelorn side as she falls  under Oberon’s spell to fall in love with actor-turned-ass, Bottom.

 

Dylan Taylor, Addison Gatner, Autumn Adrian in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Richard Amery

Several of the cast play multiple characters. Avery Raine does a fantastic job as Egea at the beginning of the play where she tries to convince the duke Theseus to make her daughter Hermia marry Demetrius instead of her true love Lysander. Later she plays community actor Starveling and one of Titania’s attendants Cobweb.

 

And Mayson Merkl does double duty as Theseus’s fiance Hippolyta and lets her comedic side loose as  Titania’s attendant Peasblossom. 

 

Dylan Taylor, who plays Lysander is hilarious, especially when he is drugged with a love potion flower, making him fall in love with Helena and he resembles a young, drunk Bill Murray.

 

Ben McLuskey, does an excellent job of showing the many sides of Demetrius.

  Isaiah Chadney (Flute), Avery Raine, Kaylee Johnson (Snout) and Stephanie Wickham (Snug), the actors rehearsing a play to perform at Theseus’  marriage celebration are hilarious, mostly due to their facial expressions and body language. Kaylee Johnson makes the most of her scenes with just body language. She gets a lot of mileage out of playing a wall, knocking some sense back into Bottom at the end and just by  moving set pieces to the tune of modern industrial sounds, which  freak out Wickham’s  Snug. Wickham’s expressions are hilarious especially playing the lion in the play at the end.

 

Isaiah Chadney, Ginny Little Bergsma, Kaylee Johnson and Trevor Loman in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Richard Amery

 Ginny Little Bergsma plays Peter Quince, the director of the play. Her facial expressions are priceless as the actors finally get to perform in front of the duke and botch their lines.

 It is one of of Shakespeare’s funniest and fantastical plays. The cast makes it shine with lots of physical comedy, facial  expressions and make the dialogue shine.

 There are a few more chances to catch  A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They are in High River, Saturday, Aug 7 at 2 p.m at the Venue. TheAug. 13  Nikko Yuko Japanese Gardens show is sold out. But they will be in the Casa community room, Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. and close their season in Galt Gardens, Aug.19 and 20 beginning at 7 p.m.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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