by Paula Citron
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Dream in High Park, CanStage is mounting a hip-hop/Caribana version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. The audience laughed riotously over the slapstick antics, so this production will certainly have wide appeal. I, however, am the curmudgeon.
The fragmented nature of director ahdri zhina mandiela’s approach is irritating because there seems to be no rhyme or reason for the choices she makes. The production swings between a variety of theatrical styles that seem gerrymandered together, and there seems to be no overall vision for the play itself.
Unfortunately, Shakespeare can become a stream of garble when an actor loses sight of textual meaning, and this happens on more than one occasion.
On a postive note, the very first Dream was colour blind, and this production carries on the tradition by fielding an enthusiastic, energetic cast that reflects the multicultural mosaic of Toronto.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream continues until Sept. 2.
From the High Park Amphitheatre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.