A Midsummer Night's Dream

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How to hide the fact that your modern-day iteration of William Shakespeare’s enchanted rom-com plays like a clever college kid’s ambitious-to-a-fault senior thesis project? (Looky here: color filters to indicate mood!) Maybe slip in a play-within-a-play so self-consciously awful that it makes you shine with professional polish by comparison. (You thought transplanting ancient Athens to contemporary LA was iffy in spots? Try stuffing star-crossed lovers Pyramus and Thisbe into the Star Wars universe! “A long time heretofore in a galaxy far, far hence” — ho ho!) Director Casey Wilder Mott is admittedly (and a bit relentlessly) inventive in his presentation of Shakespeare’s text: it shows up in texts (natch), on tattoos, at open-air poetry readings, etc. And the mostly charming cast is clearly having fun, which may be enough to carry you through. Possible indicator: do you chuckle at the news that Bottom, whose head gets transformed into that of an ass in the original, here gets a human ass — a bottom — instead? Further, do you guffaw when you learn that, while so transformed, he occasionally punctuates his speech with tiny fart noises? But whether you are amused or bemused, it’s unlikely that you’ll feel much of anything; this is comedy at its frothiest and foamiest. (2017) — Matthew Lickona

Rated NR
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