In a season titled “Shakes, Drugs & Rock ’n’ Roll,” Reduxion Theatre puts the sexy back into Shakespeare with its effectively titillating and appropriately titter-inducing take on the fun and fanciful tale of hot and bothered lovers under the influence of powerful potions in a late-night romp through an enchanted wood.
Directed by Erin Woods, Reduxion managing director, the production is stripped down in terms of lighting and set, but the stage never feels empty, thanks to a rich adaptation and dynamic performances.
In the dual roles of Duke Theseus and Oberon, Reduxion artistic director Tyler Woods is at the top of his game. He displays an awesome confidence, delivering performances that are both powerful and seemingly effortless.
Acquitting herself well while also pulling double duty is Holly McNatt. As Hippolyta, she is thoughtful, composed and a good match for Woods’ Theseus. Whether raging at Oberon or falling madly in love with a mandonkey, McNatt throws herself into the role of Titania with sweet abandon.
Not surprisingly, Cristela Carrizales is fantastic as Oberon’s mischievous servant, Robin Goodfellow, aka Puck. Carrizales excels at creating distinct and memorable characters, taking advantage of Puck’s playful nature to add some variety to the role.
Delivering an incredibly potent ensemble performance are the four young actors portraying the Athenian lovers who become lost in the woods. They have great chemistry and excel at portraying the burning desire of the love-struck teens.
Kaleb Bruza brings a charming smugness to the role of Demetrius that gives way to hilarity as he goes from object of desire to competitor for Helena’s affections. As Hermia, Claudia Fain’s delivery is a little rushed at times, but she does some great work after being spurned by both Demetrius and Lysander. As Helena, Lindsey Ruta has great presence and an excellent grasp of the language, as does Kyle Gossett as Lysander.
Another aspect that really sets this “Midsummer” apart is the evocative live musical component overseen by music director and composer Kyle Gossett. The various songs and atmospheric tones help create some truly powerful moments.
With strong direction, bold performances and inspired musical direction, Reduxion’s “Midsummer” is beautiful, funny and genuinely sexy.
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