New York | 2h 45m | Already closed

A Midsummer Night's Dream (The Pearl)

From 9 critic and 47 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Ambitious, Enchanting, Entertaining, Absorbing

About the show

Pearl Theatre and Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival present this minimalist re-telling in which five actors take on all the roles in Shakespeare's most famous romantic comedy. More…

Shakespeare’s lush tale of the ecstasies of love and loss, 'Midsummer' tosses four lovers into the strangest, most magical night of their lives. In the woods of Athens, they dive into a world ruled by the whims of passion, play, and jealousy—and none of them come out unchanged. Directed by Bedlam Theater’s innovative Eric Tucker, five versatile actors will live out Bottom’s fantasy of playing all the roles in this celebration of the transformative and intoxicating power of love.

The Wall Street Journal

"Not since Peter Brook’s now-legendary 1970 Royal Shakespeare Company version has there been so radically original or mysteriously poetic a production of the greatest of all stage comedies. It seals Mr. Tucker’s reputation as the outstanding American classical stage director of his generation." Full Review

The New York Times

"It seems clear that all the performers here have been infected by Bottom’s passion to take on any role that might be on offer, and to turn every thought and impulse into theatrical action. In their hands, Shakespeare’s tale of love lost and found in an enchanted forest becomes a gleeful paean to the joys of losing and finding yourself through acting...Its first objective is to entertain, while sustaining a sharp narrative that follows a labyrinthine course of love, true and false." Full Review


"This production may feel disconcerting to those who expect a traditional production of 'Midsummer,' and given Tucker's innovative treatment, it could prove initially confusing for those who have not encountered the work before on page or stage. But Tucker and his troupe lend an unexpected magic and hilarity to this comedy that you're not likely to see anywhere else — a perfect example of Shakespeare at play." Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

"The acting quintet impresses most of all with its teamwork. Never did they fail to meet Tucker’s demands. As usual, his approach works best with the most familiar of classics. I would not recommend this 'Dream' to first-timers: too much of the text would be lost amid the distractions of the actors getting from one movement to the next. To the rest of us, however, the transitions seem...invisible." Full Review


"There are so many moving parts that things are bound to slip here and there—and they do, with some odd pacing in spots, some strange tonal choices, and other inconsistencies which mar the production...Despite its issues, I found this to be the most engaging and intriguing performance of the play I've seen. It's good, challenging work from a highly regarded company and director, and if you like to see the work of the Bard pushed without being mangled, this production is well worth your while." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"The question is: what happens when you stage 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' with such a tiny cast, not a single costume alteration, no props, and the sounds and music (much of it drawn from familiar pop tunes) supplied by the actors themselves? The answer—at least much of the time—is, like the name of Tucker’s company, bedlam... This isn’t to say that there’s not a lot here to appreciate." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"This is not a good introduction to Shakespeare's messy but enduring comedy. Yet some new notes are struck and that's nothing to pass over lightly...But we feel little when lovers are torn apart and even less when they are reunited. And you know a 'Midsummer' is not wholly successful when you worry about the ending before it's begun. Still, the cast is energetic and winning and some rewards are earned." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' is performed in what looks like a gigantic kitty litter box. Not surprising, considering within the first five minutes, I would have flushed this production down the drain. Gone is the ethereal beauty and the poetry to be replaced by the crass grabbing of body parts and copulation every chance they get. And this is suppose to pass as comedy. This version seems conceived by a 13 year old boy’s wet dream...I’m sorry this is not theater and it is not funny." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

for a previous production "While the laughter that arises from the cast's collective antics is both explosive and irresistible, this 'Midsummer' is no mere jokefest. Not since Peter Brook’s now-legendary 1970 Royal Shakespeare Company version has there been so radically original or mysteriously poetic a production of the greatest of all stage comedies." Full Review

Innovative, Hilarious, Masterful, Great acting

See it if you're turned on by innovative Shakespeare. It's stripped down: 5 actors, no props, no scenery, just words. Stunning. Had to see it twice.

Don't see it if you want to sit back and relax. This production constantly engages the audience in a visceral way. It's thrilling, but borderline invasive.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Riveting

See it if You love Shakespeare and you love brilliant new takes on Shakespeare. Or just if you love brilliant physical comedy.

Don't see it if You hate all good things.

Original, Ambitious, Exuberant, Funny, Great acting

See it if you like avant garde, over-the-top, very funny Shakespeare played by Incredibly talented actors. Kudos to the director as well!

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare or you only like the traditional performances.

Ambitious, Hilarious, Must see, Profound, Quirky

See it if you love Shakespeare and comedies

Don't see it if you don't have a sense of humor

Great staging, Masterful, Original

See it if You love Bedlam, Eric Tucker and/or A Midsummer Night's Dream. This is a brilliant production.

Don't see it if You need your Shakespeare "traditional" or "period" in order to be worthy of your attendance.

Clever, Funny, Raunchy, Hilarious, Great acting

See it if you enjoy Shakespeare that embraces the crudeness of the source material while experimenting with style and presentation.

Don't see it if you are a traditionalist or don't enjoy crude sexual humor.

Absorbing, Funny, Exquisite, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see Phylicia rashad in the Central Park version in an outdoor theater setting. If you like Shakespeare and his complex plays

Don't see it if You don't like romance stories with plot twists and magic

Ambitious, Enchanting, Funny, Great staging, Original

See it if You are a Shakespeare fan looking for a totally original, fresh approach to make a great play come alive again.

Don't see it if You are easily confused by plays or the thought of Shakepseare puts you to sleep.

Dizzying, Confusing, Masterful, Original, Funny

See it if you can surrender to Shakespeare shaken up by dream logic & stirred w inventively physical staging & exuberantly virtuosic performances.

Don't see it if a lack of clarity & emotion + too many recurring bits will turn this Dream into a nightmare for you. It's a vital US take on a classic. Go!

Ambitious, Imaginative, Dizzying, Challenging, Clever

See it if you're an Eric Tucker fan. MSND is innovative, fascinating, intense, funny, energetic, insightful but requires strong knowledge of the play.

Don't see it if you get offended. I found Titania's sexual romp w/Bottom-as-ass misogynistic. Some laughed, but it wasn't funny. Otherwise, a great night.

Also I'm catching up on old reviews. I was impressed with this MSND that ma... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Confusing, Enchanting, Funny, Great acting

See it if you know this play and like experimental takes on Shakespeare.

Don't see it if you're interested in traditions.

Clever, Entertaining, Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You are open to a tactful and brilliant adaptation of Shakespeare's Midsummer.

Don't see it if You are a stickler for Shakespeare's language remaining untouched and intact.

Entertaining, Slow, Great writing, Great acting, Quirky

See it if you like Shakespeare and want to see an interesting take on this classic play

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare or if you plays done with minimal scenery. They utilize the space well but there is no scenery changes.

Enchanting, Dated, Masterful

See it if You are a shakespeare lover

Don't see it if You do not enjoy classical plays

Confusing, Edgy, Intense

See it if you enjoy minimalist takes on Shakespeare plays or if you enjoy all adaptations of Midsummer Night's Dream.

Don't see it if having a few actors playing multiple characters is confusing, if you prefer to have major sets, or if you like traditional adaptations.

Clever, Confusing, Fluffy, Quirky, Original

See it if you already know the plot and don't mind a hard-to-follow production with bare-bones staging and just 5 actors.

Don't see it if you are unfamiliar with the story or prefer your Shakespeare to be more traditionally staged.

Dizzying, Indulgent, Original, Quirky, Raunchy

See it if You already deeply understand Midsummer and want to see a somewhat deconstructed take with some very big choices.

Don't see it if You are unfamiliar with this play or you hate Marlon Brando impressions. Or if you really expect all the choices to, yknow, make sense.

Ambitious, Dizzying, Indulgent

See it if you are very, very familiar with the text of the show and want to see an athletic, comedic riff on the play.

Don't see it if You don't know the show very well. It's a little hard to follow in places, and the pace and length are kind of exhausting.

Absorbing, Confusing, Slow, Great acting, Enchanting

See it if you like shakespeare

Don't see it if you don't like shakespeare

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Funny, Great acting

See it if you want something different from shakespeare, you want to see great acting, you're interested in ensemble work, you love shakespeare

Don't see it if you want a musical, you want classical shakespeare

Enchanting, Funny, Masterful, Romantic, Refreshing

See it if You love the bard

Don't see it if You don't like classical theatre

Absorbing, Enchanting, Entertaining, Great acting, Masterful

See it if You liked reading Shakespeare, but want to hear his work to fabulous music!

Don't see it if You hated English class!

Absorbing, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Exquisite

See it if Did not see it

Don't see it if U saw it

Edgy, Great acting, Great staging, Original, Thought-provoking

See it if You like things other than basic regular theatre.

Don't see it if you are a traditionalist.

Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Original

See it if You love Shakespeare, or if you hate Shakespeare. If you have ever thought "I never need to see that play again". If you like theatricality.

Don't see it if You are expecting a tame and traditional rendering of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Cast & Creatives (7)