A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Rated 4.0

The sprites are spry and the lovers are lovely in this down-to-basics production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Big Idea Theatre, where fantasy reaches right into the audience and offers an inviting interlude away from the approaching cold of winter.

A flexible set, designed in a collaboration of a number of stage techs and players, allows the necessary rapid entrances and exits to make this comedy work, and the cast makes good use of all the possibilities. Traditional double-casting stretches a small band of players to cover the roles, and all rise to the occasion.

As Puck, Shannon Mahoney brings a dancer’s grace to the hyperactive spirit, matching ballet precision with frantic merrymaking. Also noteworthy is Gregory Smith’s Nick Bottom, who properly mangles the language and summons some redoubtable braying at all the right moments.

What’s more, the play within a play takes a much more full-fledged role here, as the workmen’s slipshod staging of Pyramus and Thisbe in the final act is fully realized rather than a slapstick skit. The addition was a welcome one to this lighthearted and well-played traditional staging of the Shakespearean classic.