Review of FairyWorlds!
Adapted from William Shakespeare
Directed by Jared Sakren
For tickets / schedule :
Railroad Square, Santa Rosa
(Enter through 6th Street Playhouse parking lot)
Shakespeare in the Cannery in association with 6th Street Playhouse
RUN: August 10 – September 2, 2017
RATING: 4 of 5 stars
(August 11, 2017)
Adapted from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jared Sakren‘s vision wraps the stage in shimmering mists of fairyland with a host of floral draped creatures hovering in twinkling adoration of their otherworldly royals. April George’s lighting design casts mystical colors of moonlight, while Maci Cae Hosler’s costumes are almost unwieldy in their spectacle, with sweeping cloaks, light infused wings and streamlined battle gear of Amazon warriors.
Despite the visual feast of this production, which at times suffers from technical hiccups, it is the intimate character driven moments that make FairyWorlds! come alive. In a brilliant choice of casting, Elizabeth Henry is both Hippolyta and Titania, while Chris Schloemp portrays Theseus and Oberon, creating parallel mature love stories. Sakren’s nuanced directing becomes obvious when he takes the nearly mute Hippolyta and turns her into a force to be reckoned with, using the physicality of an Amazon to keep her engaged in scenes, rather than melting into a backdrop piece as I have seen in other productions. The antics of Schloemp and the wedding party turn the final act’s mechanicals performance into Renaissance RiffTrax style hilarity.
Craig A. Miller struts into the role of Bottom, wheezing and bellowing as the monstrous love of Titania, and causing fits of laughter from the audience in his prolonged comedic death scene as Pyramus. His fellow mechanicals take to their roles, with Al Kaplan as the put-upon Peter Quince / Prologue, whose bellowed pronunciation corrections from backstage are perfectly timed. Jill K. Wagoner’s Tom Snout / Wall interacts adroitly with Miller’s Pyramus, making faces at him throughout the scene.
Haplessly caught in the snares of fairies are the young lovers, who wander through the woods, tossed by magic’s capricious ways. Abbey Lee’s feisty Hermia turns Marty Pistone’s fight choreography into a sort of vicious dance, furious at her new rival, Haley Rome’s Helena, who keeps a level head at the gathering whirlwind of events. Joseph Favalora’s acrobatic Puck is cheerful and graceful; his poise, always at the tips of his toes, maintains the fairy quality of his character, contrasting the heavily traditional role he takes as Philostrate.
FairyWorlds! captures the enchantment of Shakespeare’s play with a dreamscape atmosphere. It’s exciting lighting design and enthusiastic cast weave an entertaining evening in the unique cannery ruins venue.