Review: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Sheen Center

Anthony J. Piccione

Valentine’s Day is soon, and I suspect many theatergoers – including some readers of this blog – are looking for something to do (and by that, I mean an event to attend) with their significant other, for this occasion. If they’re also a lover of theatre, obviously it should go without saying that any Valentine’s Day date ought to include a night at the theater. More specifically, perhaps one that involves watching a bright adaptation of a romantic classic.

One such example of that would be Frog and Peach Theatre Company’s current production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I won’t rehash the plot of this show, as I suspect most readers of this blog are probably familiar already with this piece, but I will say, when I saw it this past weekend, this was a very cute and entertaining production. Not all productions are able to easily deliver a performance of these very old plays by a playwright who existed centuries ago, but as far as I’m concerned, this one passed the test.

Staged in the Sheen Center Black Box Theatre, director Lynnea Benson does an excellent job at bringing this play to life, as does the very talented choreographer Skylar Fox. The production is relatively minimalistic, in terms of its tech, and relies heavily on the energy and talent of the cast to carry the show. One notable highlight that did stand out, however, were the colorful costume designs of Asa Benally, which helped make this an aesthetically pleasing adaptation.

However, it is the cast which is easily what makes this particular production worth going to see. Standing out among this talented ensemble is Marcus Watson, who proves to be particularly energetic and versatile in the role of Puck. Bess Miller also delivers a particularly pleasant and energetic performance as Helena, while Alyssa Diamond does a wonderful job at portraying the role of Hermia, and Kyle Primack and Edan Jacob Levy are both entertaining as Demetrius and Lysander respectively. The cast is rounded out by Benny Acevedo (Philostrate), Nicholas Corda (Starveling/Oberon understudy), David Elyha (Egeus), Erick Gonzales (Oberon), Taylor Harvey (Pease-blossom), Kevin Hauver (Bottom), Daina Njuguna (Hippolyta), Karoline Patrick (Cobweb), John L. Payne (Snout/Wall), Richard James Porter (Peter Quince), Amy Frances Quint (Titania), Chad Sheveland (Theseus), Josh Silverman (Moth/Starveling understudy), Stephanay Slade (Mustard-seed), Eric Ryan Swanson (Francis Flute), and Steven Ungar (Snug).

The one minor issue I have with this production has to do with the marketing, which suggests that it’s friendly for all ages, and while it mostly is, there are a few minor sexual innuendos that pop up in this show. Nonetheless, while I thought this was worth noting for our readers, the fact that such innuendo is so rare, if not easy to miss for some audience members, in this production make it hardly a big deal. This was a very playful, colorful and delightful production of a classic play, and I’m sure that if you take your friends, family or significant other to see this show, no matter who it is, you can’t go wrong with it. So be sure to consider doing so, if you have the chance this February…

 “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – presented by Frog & Peach Theatre Company – runs at the Sheen Center Black Box Theatre from February 1st to 25th. For more information, please visit https://sheencenter.org/shows/midsummer/