There is so much going on in director Dean Paul Gibson’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream that you half expect the cast of Cirque de Soleil to walk up the stairs through the tent’s opening in the back. But while the production may stop just short of real circus acts, the sensory overload that is the hallmark of our French circus friends is translated beautifully to one of Shakespeare’s funniest plays.
With the wild costumes from designer Mara Gottler, quirky set pieces from Kevin McAllister and the eccentric nature of husband-and-wife team Meg Roe and Alessandro Juliani’s sound design, there is a risk that the actual Shakespeare will be lost beneath a cacophony of distractions. But far from these visual and auditory delights taking away from the story, or worse yet, used as some sort of theatrical sleight-of-hand to mask performances, they all add up to a worthy celebration of the Bard on the Beach 25th anniversary season. And much like the longevity of the Bard’s words themselves, it proves that there is still much life left in this annual Festival of iambic pentameter.
Photo by David Blue: Kyle Rideout as Puck in the Bard on the Beach production of A Midsummer Nights Dream.