Carousel Theatre School

by William Shakespeare

Venue Behind Performance Works on Granville Island
Dates 6 - 19 August, 2004

Reviewer Jane Penistan




Instructors Carole Higgins and Chris McGregor
Assistant to the instructors Jack Paterson
Choreographer Julia Henderson Costume design Catherine Seiler Set design Dwayne Campbell Lighting design Jason Leane Sound design Joel Etkin Lullaby song Jeff Tymoschuk Stage Manager Amber Cruikshank




Here is a young company performing a play for young people, on Granville Island, behind Performance Works. The young and active members of the audience sit on blankets in front of the stage, while more senior members sit on bleachers. Beneath a summer evening sky with a green hill rising behind the stage, Carousel Theatre School presents Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. And they present it with great aplomb.

It is difficult to believe that this young cast has had only three weeks' instruction and rehearsal prior to opening night. It says much for the standard of instruction and production that these students are able to deliver such a lively, entertaining and well rehearsed play in so short a time. It also says much for the hard work put in by the pupils and teachers. Above all, it indicates a shared enjoyment in the work.

This enjoyment permeates the presentation. The two pairs of young lovers revel in their escapade of running away from their dominating elders. A graceful balletic Puck (Laura Stevens) takes delight in the havoc caused in mistaking the "Athenian youth". Oberon (Myles Wolfe) plots and carries out his designs to get his own majestic, if chauvinistic way, with pleasure. The hard handed mechanicals have all the enjoyment and apprehension amateurs always feel "when putting on a play", not to mention the satisfaction of having their play, "preferred," and "to be performed before the Duke".


Titania (Larissa Dziubenko) finds herself besotted by Bottom in his ass's head, while Bottom (Kevin Stark) indulges in all the histrionics of a would-be actor and is pleased with his success with so rare a creature as Titiania. Though he finds himself somewhat bewildered at his awakening, he philosophically and optimistically decides it was a good dream and one to be remembered pleasurably.

Marci Herron plays the double role of Egeus and Quince with considerable maturity. The two pairs of lovers, Hermia and Lysander, and Helena and Demetrius (Eva Lillquist and Jamie Harrower, and Jessica Louis and Michael Gunion, respectively), behave as adolescents do, rebelling and quarreling while longing for love and understanding. In the end all ends happily and the fairies ensure that all will be well, and "nought shall go ill".

This is an admirable and enjoyable production. To sit under the rising stars and watch this happy comedy unfold is a great way for a family to spend an evening None are too young or to old. (Chairs are provided for those unable to manage the bleachers.)

Midsummer Night's Dream runs behind Performance Works (inside Performance Works if the weather is inclement) Monday through Saturday at 7,30 p.m. August 6 - 19, 2004. No tickets are required and refreshments are available for purchase at the booth. Donations to Carousel Theatre are much appreciated and richly deserved.

2004, Jane Penistan