In Short: An unexpected treat just steps from Harvard Square. This sparse but engaging production captures the slapstick fun of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy and includes performances that will surprise you with their vigor and spirit.
Summer in the Boston area can feel quite magical; the dusk comes late and the cooling breeze after a hot day can be almost trance-inducing.
So it shouldn’t be a surprising to anyone that sprites and fairies are appearing in Longfellow Park. A bare-bones production of Midsummer’s Night Dream has popped up thanks to a theater company with the less then boastful name, It’s a Fiasco. This is only their second show, but the vitality of this production makes it well worth your time and effort.
I.A.F. does a great job of streamlining this classic, giving us what feels like the whole show but clocking in at a very reasonable 90 minutes. Most of the songs and poetry for poetry’s sake has been cut, although there is one song and one dance left in to great comic effect. In general, the performances are lively, intelligent and fresh and thanks to the work of director Valerie Madden, I found myself tickled by of the small touches and inventions throughout the night.
Comically the standout performances come from the two sets of lovers, who all do a fine job of unpacking the bard’s dense language so that the scenes are as easy to parse as a Doctor Phil episode. Their scenes also includes some inspired physical comedy Kathee Buxton as Helena. Vincent Ernest Siders ( Demitrius) has a fabulously rubber face and he does his Demitrius come across as impetuous endearing youth rather then mean. I also really enjoyed the performance by Mike Handelman as Snout, the ever-eager Wall and David Hansen who’s performance as Flute/Thisbe kept me laughing the whole time.
This production is free to the public and the night I was there people showed up to picnic before the show, which made it a cheap yet romantic date. To really enjoy your night, drop a twenty in the donation basket as you think of all those snobs paying ten times that to see The Tempest down the street at the A.R.T. Although this production lacks the lush production values of that show, you will certainly walk away just as charmed.
Longfellow Park is at 175 Mt. Auburn St. in Cambridge. Free parking is available after 6pm (check the signs).
June 20 7pm
June 21 2pm and 7pm
June 22 2pm
The following shows are in DANEHY PARK (99 Sherman St., Cambridge, MA 02140)
June 26 7pm
June 27 7pm
June 28 2pm and 7pm
June 29 2pm
All Performances are weather permitting (Check Facebook for cancellations)
Free to the public, Donations accepted.