Thursday, July 19, 2012

The 2012 Summer Stage Review: Volume 4

A Midsummer Night's Dream at Montebello Park (Driftwood Theatre)

Wait.  Let me clarify that: A Midsummer Night's Dream -- a musical adaptation by Kevin Fox, Tom Lillington, and D. Jeremy Smith.  That's important, because for whatever strengths the production had, it also had the musical element which was, to put it mildly, its utter downfall.

The show started and I thought, "How curious that there was no musical number near the beginning of this show, if it's a musical."  When Oberon appeared and started singing, I thought, "Oh, I see.  The fairies are going to sing, but the mortals will not."  Then Lysander started singing and I thought, "Oh, wait.  Now I get it.  The fairies and those under the influence of fairy magic will sing."  Then someone else sang and I just said, "Screw it.  There are no rules."

Even bigger a problem was the fact that the music didn't serve the storytelling at all.  Shakespeare's words set to meandering almost-melodies in what became a very irritating, lazy a cappella style detracted significantly from the text.  As someone familiar with the play, I was constantly groaning at the fact that wonderful humour and wit was falling flat, flat, flat as lines were stretched, bent, and forced to suit the music's cadences instead of being the focus.  Painful and arduous.

That isn't to say there were no bright points, most notably Madeleine Donohue as Helena (and doubling as Snout), whose timing, line delivery, and physicality were comedic yet true and somehow "natural" in the world created on stage.

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