THE BARD'S PLAYFUL 'DREAM' IS ALIVE IN L.A.Byline: EVAN EVAN Expandable Van HENERSON
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The donkey-headed man swings.
As do the forest-scattered lovers, the prankster sprite and the fairy queen. Everyone's cutting loose to the tunes of Lionel Hampton, Cy Coleman, Cole Porter and Harry Woods via some hip arrangements by music director Steve Pandis and Matt Falker.
Quite a frisky little shindig shin·dig
1. A festive party, often with dancing. Also called shindy.
2. See shindy.
[Probably alteration of shindy. the players -- and musicians -- of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream A Midsummer Night's Dream is a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare written sometime in the 1590s. It portrays the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors, their interactions with the Duke and Duchess of Athens, Theseus and Hippolyta, and " are putting on outside the Our Lady of the Angels cathedral (the production moves to Palos Verdes' South Coast Botanic Gardens July 25). Ultimately, this "Dream's" a better party than production.
Cause for dances and revels aside, it's not entirely clear what director Ben Donenberg and his Shakespeare Festival/LA company are trying to do with the "Dream" by overlaying L.A.'s Central Avenue scene of the 1920s.
The jazzily costumed (by Fontella Boone) fairies, lovers and rude mechanicals go about their magically mixed-up business for a couple of largely sprightly hours.
Songs are sung. Clothes are occasionally shed. Everyone looks like they're having a high old time, even when plot mayhem gets insane.
And when it comes time for the comically awful play-within-
a-play rendition of "Pyramus and Thisbe Pyramus and Thisbe (pĭr`əməs, thĭz`bē), in classical mythology, youth and maiden of Babylon, whose parents opposed their marriage. Their homes adjoined, and they conversed through a crevice in the dividing wall. ," those self same mechanicals hit the comic notes.
Geoffrey Owens, whose hammy ham·my
adj. ham·mi·er, ham·mi·est
Marked or characterized by overacting; affectedly humorous or dramatic.
ham Bottom had great brio when he was walking around with an ass head, more than delivers the goods as the tragic hero Pyramus.
Leave it to "Pyramus and Thisbe" to ensure that a decent "Dream" goes out on a high note. It's too bad Donenberg's jazz "Dream" needs that pick-me-up to begin with.
Evan Henerson, (818) 713-3651
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
>Where: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is a cathedral church of the United States in the City of Los Angeles in California. It is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and seat of its archbishop, Roger Cardinal Mahony. , 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles.
>When: 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday (closes Sunday). Moves to South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes.
>Tickets: Free. Nonperishable food donation encouraged. Reservations: (213) 975-9891 or www.ShakespeareFestivalLA.org.
>In a nutshell: Central Avenue staging of Shakespearean comedy offers lots of music, little intent.
>Our rating: Three stars