William Ngong. Photo: Megan Massie Ware
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Kyle Ware
A review by Brian Kennedy
Entire contents are copyright © 2021 by Brian Kennedy. All rights reserved.
Multiple stories of love, confusion, and trying to put on a show intertwine thanks to a little magic and plenty of comedy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, now taking place in Central Park through Kentucky Shakespeare.
The production was mounted by The Globe Players, Kentucky Shakespeare’s professional training program for high school students. This was part of an intensive program that also included voice, movement, and acting work with mentors. All that work paid off as the actors performed their roles well with occasional standout, laugh-out-loud moments.
Love interests Hermia and Lysander (Riley Fussenegger and Hunter Broyles, respectively) were charming together, showing wonderful affection for each other. Helena (Bella Detwiler) showed plenty of range in emotion in her voice and mannerisms, leading to most of the early laughs, while pursuing Demetrius (the impressive Jackson Guarino-Sanders) who rebuffs her due to wanting Hermia instead.
All four wind up in the woods, where Oberon (William Ngong, who genuinely portrayed the character as a true leader) has his “puck” Robin Goodfellow (Quinn Fitzgerald, who effectively operates between mischievous and good-hearted concern) perform magic on the group. The magic, however, leads to the wrong person falling in love with the wrong person.
This sets up the most hilarious scene in the play, early in Act II. Hermia, Lysander, Helena, and Demetrius argue with each other with rapid-fire lines and fun stage direction that highlights the confusion, dismay, jealousy, and lovesickness of the moment. Each level of emotion needed for this scene is believably there, leading to quite a few rolls of laughter from the audience. It’s the most memorable scene in the play.
The most memorable character, however, is Nick Bottom (Roscoe Lindsay-Bruns). Essentially the diva of a group of traveling actors, Lindsay-Bruns’ appropriately foolhardy attitude is a joy to watch as he attempts to audition for each character in a play the actors are creating. He utilizes multiple levels of voice, including falsetto, as he quickly switches between the characters in a very funny fashion.
Later, Puck’s magic turns the unaware Bottom into an animal. The absurdity is intensified when the queen of the fairies Titania (the compelling Sara Seim), under a spell of her own, falls for him. Lindsay-Bruns is hysterical as Bottom takes full advantage of the situation, having Titania’s fairies perform ridiculous tasks or obtain obscure items.
Overall, thanks to the hilarity and effective acting, it is more than worth spending a midsummer night watching Kentucky Shakespeare and Globe Players perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Bonus points for the production as a whole in its quick and professional manner when it had to be halted a couple of times due to medical situations in the audience. Fellow audience members, as well as Kentucky Shakespeare staff, quickly tended to each person, and both were alert before each ambulance arrived. Each time, the rest of the audience remained patient, and when appropriate, the show picked up from where it left off.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
August 4 – 8, 2021
Shakespeare Festival in Central Park
C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheater
1340 S. Fourth St.
Louisville, KY 40208
Admission is free. Everyone is welcome, including pets.
Food trucks open at 6:30 p.m.; Will’s Tavern begins serving at 7:00 p.m.
Pre-Show begins at 7:15 p.m., with main stage production at 8:00 p.m.
Brian Kennedy is a nearly life-long Louisville resident who has performed in plays since 2004. He also wrote extensively about the Louisville theatre scene for Louisville.com and Examiner.com from 2009-2015. Currently, he maintains the theatre blog LouBriantheater. When not involved in the theatre scene, he is an avid runner, participating in 5Ks throughout the state and in southern Indiana.