The Midwinter’s Dream Tale: The Sparkling Frozen World of Oberon and Tatiana as Background for a Brilliant Clown Show!

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Categories: Professional Theatre

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Margo MacDonald (Restes)  and Scott Florence (Pommes frites)

The Company of Fools has returned with The Midwinter’s Dream Tale, that Shakespearean parody that fuses Midsummer Night’s Dream into The Winter’s Tale, transforming the fairy tale world of Oberon and Tatiana into a sparkling, frozen and fairly brilliant clown show.  The clowns become the narrative links in that rather nasty story about the, narcissistic and  jealous  Fairy King Oberon, who tries to destroy the   Fairy Queen’s baby because he is not convinced it is his own.  In a jealous rage, he sends the baby off to be drowned. What follows is the frantic flight away from the king, the frantic search for the child, all accompanied by a desire for  vengeance, and  the appearance of a whole parade of strange creatures including love sick fairies, the fluffy abominable snow creature, a silvery very in your face Puck, a hugely pregnant Tatiana, a frozen wonderland of twinkling snowflakes and beasts whose eyes glow in the dark.  A magnificent show for the whole family with jokes that will amuse the younger children, and other jokes that will tickle the funny bones of the adults.  It speaks to everyone.

Ivo Valentik’s set is a most magic place of frozen snowflakes and glowing lights, thanks as well to  Rebecca Miller’s excellent  lighting desigin.   The  performances of Scott Florence (Pommes frites) and Margo Macdonald (Restes) as the clown duo ,  create their  own world of stand-up comedy, of prickly characters that shoot their answers back and forth and seem to  work off the cuff,  taking smart aleck  pot shots at the Harper government and any recent news that  happens to attract their attention . Those two are very special indeed. Added to their fun and dead pan humour  is the way the clown  characters develop their individual personae.  Florence (Pommes frites) is the egomaniac and exhibitionist  who  seems to be imitating Peter Sellers’ inspector  Clouzot voice, while  Margo MacDonald, the oppressed victim,  toddles about getting pushed around by her domineering companion. She is a sensitive soul who really wouldn’t hurt a fly. They complete each other so beautifully and they have developed their routine to a point where one could almost pluck them out of the play and watch the two of them carry on, all by themselves for an hour or so. Jesse Buck, as the irreverent Puck, also had an enormous  presence as the Shakespearean mischief-maker who also became a form of Elizabethan stand-up comic..Passing from Shakespeare’s world to ours…a transitional character who created great expectations as to what he would come up with next..

What is clear here, is that The Company of Fools has developed a show that will never be dated.  The parody of Shakespeare will always interesting  and have great general appeal. At the  same time the play appears to evolve because  there is a lot of improvisation based on current news items, mostly having to do with Canadian politics. Those apparently spontaneous  remarks  are suddenly blurted out. Jesse Buck (Puck) along with Restes and  Pommes frites had a field day, tossing out  the most unexpected  images  to the  children and  to  the parents. They caught the whole  audience in their web of funny business and the reaction was just as spontaneous and delightful  as the performances themselves.

As for me, it became very clear this time round, that Restes has a particularly deep seated and almost disturbing  need for “Ice cream”  that definitely must be explored even further.

A Midwinter’s Dream Tale played from November 29 to December 18 at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre.

A Midwinter’s Dream Tale

at the GCTC

A Company of Fools Production

At the Great Canadian Theatre Company/Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre

Directed by Al Connors

Set design by Ivo Valentik

Costume design by Lou Hayden

Lighting design by Rebecca Miller

Mouvement and dance coach Courteney Bamford  

Sound and production designer. Al Connors

CAST

Pommes frites: Scott Florence

Restes: Margo Macdonald

Puck: Jesse Buck

Tatiana: Kelly Rigole

Oberon: Adam Proszowski

CHORUS

Jennifer Hurd

Jonah Lerner

Alex Kilpatrick

Kate Werneberg

Danielle Savoie

Karina Milech

Geneviève Sirois


Past Reviews