An entertaining, albeit uneven, blend of the Bard's famous fairy tale and the 1977 John Travolta disco drama, "A Midsummer Saturday Night's Fever Dream" is Shakespeare's story pared down to the bare essentials with plenty of time and room left for pranks, pratfalls, trampoline bounces, gross humor, disco dancing and music.

An entertaining, albeit uneven, blend of the Bard’s famous fairy tale and the 1977 John Travolta disco drama, “A Midsummer Saturday Night’s Fever Dream” is Shakespeare’s story pared down to the bare essentials with plenty of time and room left for pranks, pratfalls, trampoline bounces, gross humor, disco dancing and music. References to Burbank and Toluca Lake are thrown in for good measure.

Matt Walker portrays the playful Puck with earnest impishness. Most impressive is his ability to hurl himself across the floor and stop precisely the right point –even when it’s a mere inch or two from the edge of the stage.

He also doubles as Peter Quince, leader of a band of commoners that includes Bottom the Weaver (Rick Batella, another standout), who stage a drag production of “Pyramus and Thisby” (humorously backed by the song, “More Than a Woman”) in honor of the marriage of Theseus (Michael Sulprizio), duke of Athens, and Hippolyta (Meleney Humphrey).

Meanwhile, bad boy Demetrius (Tim Groff) loves, and is betrothed to, the beautiful Hermia (J. J. Snyder), who instead loves golden boy Lysander (Ben Johnson). Lysander loves Hermia as well, but her homely pal, Helena (Beth Kennedy), is devoted to Demetrius who wants nothing to do with her.

The four chase each other into the woods, while Quince and his men rehearse in another part of the forest. But Puck’s fairy magic soon goes awry and causes more lovesick confusion than you can shake a schtick at.

This merry “Midsummer” is full of froth and fizz, erupting rather uncontrollably once the top is popped off. Although the improvisational and burlesque-like nature of the show is largely responsible for this self-indulgent streak, in all fairness they are also responsible for a great deal of the fun.

A Midsummer Saturday Night's Fever Dream

Falcon Theatre; 99 seats; $20 top

Production

A Troubadour Theatre Co. presentation of a comedy musical in two acts; adapted by the Troubadour Theatre Co. with additional material by William Shakespeare. Directed by Matt Walker.

Creative

Set, Mike Teele, Bob Zentis; music, the BeeGees. Opened and reviewed Dec. 29, 2000; closes Jan. 28, 2001. Running time: 2 HOURS.

Cast

Theseus - Michael Sulprizio Hippolyta - Meleney Humphrey Lysander - Ben Johnson Hermia - J. J. Snyder Helena - Beth Kennedy Demetrius - Tim Groff Bottom the Weaver - Rick Batella Flute the Bellows Mender - Mike Teele Starveling the Barber - Michelle Johnson Snout the Tinker - Guillermo Robles Quince/Puck - Matt Walker Egeus - Briant Wells Nurse Candy - Jordan Savage Various Fairies - Andy Lopez
Band: Lisa Valenzuela, Dave Barker, Mike Morris, Erik Heinley, Jayme Lopez, Henry Phillips, Stephanie Bettman, Kevin Robertson.

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