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Richmond Shakespeare A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By • Jun 16th, 2014 • Category: Reviews
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Richmond Shakespeare: (Info) (Web)
Agecroft Hall and Gardens, Richmond, VA
Through July 6th
2:20 with intermission
$30/$20 Seniors, RAPT/$15 Student (Plus Fees)
Reviewed June 14th, 2014

Richmond is so fortunate, not only to have summer Shakespeare in the Park performances, but to have them in the courtyard of the regal Agecroft Hall. The 16th season of Richmond’s Shakespeare Festival, presented by the recently combined Henley Street Theatre and Richmond Shakespeare kicks off with A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Director Jan Powell has assembled an A-list of Richmond comedic actors who bring life and laughs to this classic complicated comedy. Mischievous Fairies cast love spells that wreak havoc among characters in multiple story lines surrounding the impending marriage of the Duke of Athens.

First there is Hermia (Audra Honaker) who loves Lysander (Charley Raintree) but her mother Egeus (Anne Carr Regan) wants her to marry Demetrius (Dixon Cashwell) who is loved by Hermia’s friend Helena (Maggie Roop).

Then there are the mechanicals – a rag-tag group of amateur actors rehearsing a play written by Quince (Elisabeth Ashby). Among them are Bottom (David White), Flute (John Mincks), Snug (Lucas Hall), Starveling (Eddie Webster) and Snout (LaSean Greene).

In the final story line Oberon, King of the Fairies (John Moon) with the assistance of his mischievous assistant Puck (Raven Lorraine Wilkes) is responsible for casting the love spells on various characters including his wife Titania (Melissa Johnston Price), who is quarreling with him over an Indian changeling boy that she has taken custody of, but he wants as his aide.

Stand out performances include White as Bottom (a pompous actor who gets turned into an ass) and Mincks as Flute (who, as was common in Shakespeare’s time, is cast in the play within a play as a woman). But it is Wilkes’ Puck that truly is the highlight of the show. Her personable Puck commands the stage with an impish smile and an infectious laugh. The elements of slapstick comedy liberally sprinkled throughout the production work well – especially with the Mechanicals and Audra Honaker and her suitors.

Richard Moxley’s set is basic, with interwoven sticks used as the fairy forest where most of the action takes place. BJ Wilkinson has the difficult task of lighting the stage, while competing in Act 1 with natural sunlight. In Act 2, dim blue lights in night scenes contrast with oranges at dawn and pinks in the “magical” scenes to enhance the mood. Virginia McConnell’s costumes are novel; with an early 1900’s type theme that is never quite explained with Shakespeare’s storyline.

Aptly timed, with ambient fireflies (or fairies?) to light up the sky; A Midsummer Night’s Dream makes for a magical early summer evening of entertainment.

Photo Gallery

The Mechanicals John Moon as Oberon, Melissa Johnston Price as Titania and Paxton Martinez as the boy
The Mechanicals
John Moon as Oberon, Melissa Johnston Price as Titania and Paxton Martinez as the boy
The fairies Raven Wilkes as Puck
The fairies
Raven Wilkes as Puck
Allison Blanton as Mustardseed and Raven Wilkes as Puck Raven Wilkes as Puck and John Moon as Oberon
Allison Blanton as Mustardseed and Raven Wilkes as Puck
Raven Wilkes as Puck and John Moon as Oberon
Melissa Johnston Price as Titania, David White as Bottom
Melissa Johnston Price as Titania, David White as Bottom

Photos by Eric Dobbs

The Cast

The Nobles

  • Theseus: John Moon
  • Hippolyta: Melissa Johnston Price
  • Hermia: Audra Honaker
  • Lysander: Charley Raintree
  • Helena: Maggie Roop
  • Demetrius: Dixon Cashwell
  • Egeus/Philostrate: Anne Carr Regan

The Fairy Kingdom

  • Titania: Melissa Johnston Price
  • Oberon: John Moon
  • Puck: Raven Lorraine Wilkes
  • Peaseblossom: Patrick Bello
  • Cobweb: Catherine Smith
  • Moth: Johanna Rozycki
  • Mustardseed: Allison Blanton
  • Indian Boy: Paxton Martinez

The Mechanicals

  • Quince: Elisabeth Ashby
  • Bottom: David White
  • Flute: John Mincks
  • Snug: Lucas Hall
  • Snout: LaSean Greene
  • Starveling: Eddie Webster

The Crew

  • Director: Jan Powell
  • Assistant Director: Melissa Rayford
  • Production Manager: Austin R. Cooper
  • Stage Manager: Hannah Adaway
  • Costume Design: Virginia McConnell
  • Lighting Design: BJ Wilkinson
  • Set Design & Construction: Richard Moxley
  • Sound Design: Andrew Craig
  • Properties Management: David Plotnick
  • Movement Specialist: Kaye Weinstein Gary
  • Text Coach: Shirley Kagan

Disclaimer: Richmond Shakespeare provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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is by day a Special Education teacher, teaching History, Science and drama to Middle and High School students in a private Day School in Stafford. He has degrees in Educational Media and Special Education. He is also a part time Radio News Anchor and occasional actor in the Richmond area. Bruce is a native of New Jersey and spent most of his "adult" life in Upstate New York, where he started and ran a national award winning youth theater and cable television program for over 10 years. He has lived in Virginia since 2002, and in Caroline County since 2005, where he is active in many community groups; including serving on the Board of Caroline's Promise.

One Response »

  1. As a former resident of Richmond and employee of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum (and no, I have no connection with anyone in the cast,) I read with great interest your article about the production of Dream. Seems like the fireflies were a bonus!