Review: Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream; 8 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. July 29 and 6 p.m. July 31; $15-$18. Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, William A. Carroll Amphitheatre in William Land Park; Through July 31.
Rated 4.0

The Sacramento Shakespeare Festival’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a bit of a nightmare for Jonathan Plon, who plays Theseus, the Duke of Athens, in the comedy. He learned on Tuesday before the show’s Friday opening that he was stepping into the role. (He also plays the King of Navarre in Love’s Labour’s Lost).

He was on-book (reading from the script) the first weekend, but even then made a strong impression.

The story concerns events surrounding the marriage of Theseus to Hippolyta (Stephanie Marsh-Ballard) and includes several interlocking plots involving young lovers: Hermia (Katie Peters), Lysander (Daniel Conover), Helena (Fiona Nies) and Demetrius (Tony Brisson) and fairy intervention in the lives of mortals. Brisson and Conover shine in scenes where a fairy’s mistake makes them pine for the “wrong” woman.

Robin “Puck” Goodfellow is the sprite responsible for the magical dusting, and impish Alexander Quinonez is a delight in the role. Bill Gilbert as Bottom makes for another comically gifted actor whose character gets turned into an ass by way of Puck’s misunderstanding.