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A daring ‘Dream’

“Shall we their fond pageants see?/Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

So says the impish Puck, sent on a dubious errand that goes awry, some drops of magical love juice ending up in the wrong eyes and … well, hilarious results are the norm in William Shakespeare’s 420-year old romance comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” as young lovers, a duke, a duchess, a half-donkey, fairies and sprites try to sort out some forest high jinks. Ah, a Shakespearian glade again. Into the woods, indeed.

On Friday, Richard Lambert’s New Phoenix Theatre opens a new interpretation of one of the world’s most performed plays, one called “insipid” by several grouchy critics as well as “glorious” by too many actors and directors to mention. The New Phoenix has a recently appointed artistic director, the always inventive Kelli Bocock-Natale, to direct “Dream” for the company. Over the centuries, the almost surrealistic “Dream” has been adapted every which way there is – morphing into operas and ballets; spoofed; lavish here; rustic there; praised mostly; ruined sometimes – but, given Bocock-Natale’s bold and daring track record, audiences should expect a memorable night.

An impressive group of Buffalo’s young acting talent has been gathered: Bobby Cooke, Maria Droz – as Puck – Jamie Lama, Eliza Vann, Megan Callahan, Kurt Erb, Nicholas Lama, Caitlin Coleman, Billy Horn and Eric Rawski, as Bottom the Weaver.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” continues through May 23 with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and select Sunday and matinee performances on a to-be-announced basis. Tickets are $30 general, $20 for students/seniors. Call 853-1334.

– Ted Hadley

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