By the end of Victoria Morgan’s very funny revamped “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” drawn from Shakespeare’s play, which premiered last night at The Aronoff Center, all were reunited with their true loves after much comic entanglement in The Big Forest.
When was the last time you heard people laugh out loud at a ballet? Really chuckle? Well, they were laughing during this ballet, and it was all good.
The Prologue and both Act I and II, were augmented by actors Billy Chace and Jessica Rothert (who sat unobtrusively but clearly visible in box seats) in periodic voice-overs during and occasionally outside the balletic action, and often as the dancers pantomimed.
During the complicated action of Act I this integration of dramatic readings (drawn verbatim from the Shakespeare play with the input of dramaturge Brian Isaac Phillips) worked very well indeed. The comedy was greatly enhanced, and, as was planned, the plot’s three interlocking stories were more easily comprehended.
Act II featured another comic set piece bya ragtag traveling theater troupe called The Mechanicals in a hilariously botched tragic play. Much celebratory dancing of wedding guests, led by Janessa Touchet and Ogulcan Borova, was by contrast a little flat, if no less skillfully performed.
Cervilio Miguel Amador was spot on as Puck. Sarah Hairston and Fu Liang (whose demonic chuckle as voiced by Chace was contagious) also gave their characters dramatic richness. Danielle Bausinger as Lead Sprite was just excellent, executing several difficult turn sequences with grace and lightness.
There were more excellent performances. *The previous version of this review inadvertently did not mention them by name, but Courtney Connor, Anthony Kruzkamp, Maizyalet Velazquez and Zachary Grubbs each had key moments in the comic mishmash of mismatched lovers. Also notable were Oberon’s men, played by James Cunningham, Travis Guerin, standout Stephen Jacobsen and Joshua Bodden. Each managed to carve a unqiue humorous personality onstage.
I’m not sure who supervised the miking of the actors and blended all the sounds together, but the result was also fabulous – particularly the voicings, which were especially legible (I guess this is also a credit to the actors’ diction) and loud without being overwhelming.
And as has come to be a welcome tradition after Cincinnati Ballet performances with live music, Carmon DeLeone was vigorously applauded during curtain calls.
One charming cast member of note was Alyssa Manguiat as the Changeling Child. She is pictured above (on the left) receiving flowers in the lobby after the show.
*You can read a more complete review of this program at Valinkat very soon*
Tags: Alyssa Manguiat, Billy Chace, Brian Isaac Phillips, Carmon DeLeone, Cervilio Miguel Amador, Cincinnati arts, Cincinnati Ballet, Fu Liang, Janessa Touchet, Jessica Rothert, Kathy Valin Dance Writer, Ogulcan Borova, review of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Sarah Hairston, The Aronoff Center, Victoria Morgan