A Nightmare for Oberon is a sequel of sorts to three of Shakespeare’s most (in)famous female characters, Lady Macbeth, Ophelia & Titania who happen upon each other in the magical forests of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Ophelia is convinced that she is in heaven, having believed that she had drowned, Lady Macbeth, crazy as ever, still can’t wash that damn blood off her hands and Titania, slightly perplexed by these oddities, takes charge and command over these new fellows who happen upon her forest.
The premise is interesting and perhaps could lend itself to coming across as a Shakespearean comedy of errors, alas, the play sizzles out a little sooner than I expected it would. The show itself carries strong themes of independence and escape, rising above those who oppress us and making ones decisions for themselves, yet for quite some time the show feels as if the characters are just talking in circles.
The three actresses on stage are quite strong. Hopegrown Productions have always had solid casts in their shows. Hopegrown co-founders Miriam Cummings and Samantha Megarry carry the majority of the show on their backs and they do a fine job of that, but it’s truly Nadia Verucci, also in In Search of Mrs. Pirandello, as Lady Macbeth who steals the spotlight in her limited amount of stage time. Whenever Lady Macbeth enters the scene her eccentric oddities are just so captivatingly delightful and help bring a much needed levity to this monologue-heavy show.
The biggest problem I have with the show is the script. Perhaps it’s the jilted and frantic dialogue. Perhaps it’s the fact that the show’s content lacks originality. Or perhaps it’s the fact that the show takes way too long to get moving and it feels like there is very little at risk for any of the characters involved. The script did have a few clever and funny callback’s to Shakespeare’s work but the play feels more like an in-depth character study than that of a theatrical mounting.
The show does have its moments. The cast is phenomenal and a simple, yet elegantly folksy stage setting allows the audience to engage and connect, it’s just the content that was harder to connect with.
Simon’s 2 Cents: Though high-spirited, A Nightmare for Oberon needed better control of direction and fluidity. Miriam Cummings held the show together with swagger and confidence.