Beane's 'Midsummer' out of control

Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is a story about two couples who run away and find love, lust and fairies in the woods. It's a gentle, romantic tale that suggests all is well with the world.

Insurgo Theater's production, now at the Erotic Heritage Museum, begins with two people -- cavemen? -- fighting. They grunt and snarl. The man finally subdues the woman by chaining her up. When we meet the rest of the cast members, they too yell a lot, get violent, throw themselves eagerly at one another, but don't seem to like each other very much.

There are two explicit rapes, with lots of wailing, crying and more grunts. We see a man who's been turned into a donkey actually consummate his romantic desires for the beautiful Queen of the Fairies.

You can do a script a million different ways, but whatever this is, it's not "A Midsummer Night's Dream." It's not even something that seems to belong in the Erotic Museum. There's little nudity. (Even the ass makes love with his clothes on; the only intelligent thing he does.)

If director John Beane were determined to make up a new play for the museum, you wonder not only why he didn't leave poor Shakespeare alone, but why he also didn't have the guts to go all the way with frequent nudity? For all the aggression and wailing and body rubbing, this is a peculiarly unsensual production.

The acting is out of control and self-indulgent. It fits in perfectly.

Anthony Del Valle can be reached at You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.