It’s the time for non-theater versions of Shakespeare’s hit plays in Cowtown. The Fort Worth Opera’s Hamlet closes tomorrow, and Ballet Frontier of Texas opened A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Scott Theatre Saturday night (it repeats Sunday).
With original choreography by Artistic Director Chung-Lin Tseng, and using Felix Mendelssohn’s incidental music for the play — which includes the famous Wedding March — Bard buffs should be forewarned that just as the opera Hamlet is quite different from the play, so goes the Midsummer ballet.
For instance, the Mechanicals (Mark Connolly, Jeremy Hamilton, Scotty Jones, Joshua Tingle) are barely present; aside from some fun with Bottom (Jake Yarbrough) as he is turned into a donkey, their shenanigans are missed.
That’s probably because their hilarious Pyramus and Thisbe scene wouldn’t be half as fun as pantomime.
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The narrative focus here is on the two pairs of lovers: Demetrius (Daniel Westfield) and Helena (Tessa Moore), and Hermia (Mickayla Carr) and Lysander (David Escoto). In the second act wedding, which also includes the nuptials of Theseus (Kenta Taniguchi) and Hyppolita (Carli Petri), Tseng’s choreography is athletic and complex, saving the showpiece moves for the wedding. Frontier stars Moore and Westfield the standouts in technique.
In Act One, Grant Dettling shines as Oberon, and Anastacia Snyder is lovely as Titania (that role will be danced by Jacey Thompson on Sunday).
Here, the mischievous Puck (Maria Howard on Saturday, Andrew Coffey on Sunday) doesn’t have as much to do, but Howard and young Luke Jones as an added character of an Indian Boy are delightful.
Tseng does a nice job of boiling down a play with many moving parts into what works best for a 100-minute ballet. Ballet Frontier is a school, so the multitude of fairies, butterflies, elves and flower girls are students. For their young age, they’re surprisingly in step as a cohesive ensemble; and the youngest members are too cute at the end.
Because the play is so funny, the ballet could use a few more spots of humor. But it is thoroughly entertaining, with nary a dead spot. That’s a pretty good dream.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
2 p.m. Sunday, May 10
Fort Worth Community Arts Center
1300 Gendy St., Fort Worth