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REVIEW: A Midsummer Night's Dream at the IRT

The hallowed theater's season denouement puts Shakespearean characters on roller skates—but purists will hardly hate it.

For the final performance of its 42nd season, the Indiana Repertory Theatre pulled out all the stops for one of its most beloved shows. Complete with ornate costumes, intricate set designs, and mechanical props, William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream proves to be a highbrow performance versatile enough for the novice theatergoer to enjoy.

The nearly 400-year-old play begins as night falls and the moon looms in the backdrop. “The Boy,” played by Ethan Halford Holder, drifts to sleep, and we peer into his strange dream about love and jealousy, populated by meddling fairies with a knack for mischief. Holder appears in the majority of the scenes, and his understanding of comic timing and stage presence far surpass his young age.

This particular adaptation of Midsummer has toned down much of the sexual innuendo that directors tend to exaggerate, and younger audience members needn’t worry about not fully understanding Shakespearean dialogue to appreciate the lighthearted humor of this performance. The lovers’ quarrel is particularly comical, and The Mechanicals—the amateur acting troupe chosen to perform for the king and queen—will have you in stitches as they flub their lines while desperately trying to please those members of the court.

For opening night, the show went on without a hitch. If there were any, they were well hidden and brushed off with laughter. It would have all been part of the act. Expertly executed choreography bolstered this lively and energetic show to close the season. This is what you come to the theater to see: lights, smoke, elaborate props, extravagant costumes, superb acting, uproarious laughter—the makings of great memories.

Photos by Zach Rosing

Show runs through May 12. Show times vary. Indiana Repertory Theatre. 140 W. Washington St., 317-635-5252. irtlive.com