… At Kleinhans Music Hall, we see another kind of marriage: a perfect matrimony of theater and music, as Irish Classical Theatre and the Buffalo Philharmonic jointly stage a magical “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Directed by Fortunato Pezzimenti, this spectacular production features a vibrant and uniformly excellent cast who bring to vivid life Shakespeare’s wondrous tale of a pair of couples, at first confused, and then brought together, by fairy chaos.
The play’s inspired set (designed by David Dwyer) … an ancient Athenian forest filled with weirdly bright birch-trees and flowers. With video projections … (designed by Brian Milbrand), Pezzimenti creates a whimsically colorful atmosphere for Shakespeare’s wild play.
JoAnn Falletta’s adept conducting of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra enriches the theater experience, as she organically integrates airy and Romantic selections from Felix Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” into the performance …
Numerous performances make this a must-see production …
David Wysocki is outstanding as Lysander, convincingly conveying his ardent passion … Lysander’s competition with Demetrius (Nick Stevens) creates some hysterical physical comedy.
Kit Kuebler is fantastic as Helena … Kayla Storto is equally engaging as Hermia … Kuebler and Storto offer truly enthralling and endearing comic energy.
Vincent O’Neill provides both humor and regality as Theseus. O’Neill also looks splendidly strange and powerful in his role as the fairy king Oberon …
In a standout performance, Aleks Malejs is riveting in her dual roles as Theseus’s bride-to-be, Hippolyta, and the fairy queen Titania … Malejs delivers the play’s most wildly comic moments as she falls for a literal jackass …
Dudney Joseph is hilarious as Tom Snout, whose absolute seriousness while playing the Wall in immensely entertaining. However, Philip Farugia (as Bottom) and Kevin Kennedy (as Flute) steal the show-within-the show.
Farugia’s death-scene as Pyramus is a piece of comic exaggeration for the ages.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
by Randy Schiff, The Buffalo News
Published January 18, 2020|Updated January 18, 2020
4 stars (out of four)
Through Jan. 19 at Kleinhans Music Hall (3 Symphony Circle). Tickets are $39-94 (box office, website).