MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
June 15, 2012
Lovers in turmoil peel through the magic forest in George Balanchine's ballet adaptation of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night's Dream” set to Felix Mendelssohn’s luscious score.
In several bold strokes, Balanchine introduces the characters, flipping the theatrical page on two pairs of confused lovers, a bumbling troupe of itinerant actors and the mischievous fairies.
Horrified by her noble Athenian father's ban of her marriage to Lysander (Chase Finlay), Helena (Abi Stafford) grabs her lover and flees into the forest chased by Demetrius (Ask LaCour)—who loves her madly-- followed by Helena (Faye Arthurs) who is mad for Demetrius.
Flecked in shimmering light, the lush forest sparkles from the light emitting fairies and butterflies. In one of his most disarming choreographic strokes, Balanchine festoons the stage with a breathless cast of laser-focused tiny (children) running and spinning, smiles beaming underneath buggy headgear and crayon hued costumes.
Things get hot in the woods when the two pairs of lovers are sucked into a domestic fracas between the Fairy King, Oberon (Andrew Veyette) and Fairy Queen, Titania (Maria Kowroski). Appropriately imperious, Veyette fancies Kowroski’s changeling for his entourage. She refuses him, so Oberon enlists the services of the airborne prankster Puck (Sean Suozzi) to punk her and re-align the amorously confused human couples.
An appealing Stafford comfortably navigates between comedic stints and technical requirements as does the ardent Finlay and frustrated LaCour. However, the typically hilarious hair-tugging fight scene between Stafford and Arthurs was tame by any measure.
Suozzi’s impish Puck transforms a thespian, Bottom (Taylor Stanley) into a donkey and subsequently, Titania’s lover. Their warm-hearted duet involves a lot of pawing on the ground under Titania’s adoring gaze, lovely arching legs, and abandoned musicality. Although Veyette executed clean beats and swift pirouettes during his major solo, the conductor—David Wroe-- accelerated the tempi to a nearly un-danceable speed.
In the Act II Divertissement,Tiler Peck does not disappoint in a clear and musically astute performance substantially supported and elevated by her suitor, Tyler Angle. Near the end, Peck uncoils into a backbend of exquisite simplicity and resonance.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis