In 1982, the feature film ‘A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy’ was released and received a fairly friendly reception with 74% on Rotten Tomatoes. Most critics agreed that while it may not be Woody Allen’s best work it was still worth a look. The current play brings the story to the theatre stage. The plot was about Leopold, an honored scientist and philosopher (played here by Amir Krief), who gets married to much younger, sensual , Ariel Weymouth (Anna Dubrovitsky). They plan to celebrate their small wedding in a faraway village, where his cousin, Adrian, lives with her husband (Michal Weinberg and Muli Shulman respectively). Also invited is Doctor Maxwell (Yaron Brovinsky) a womanizing, funny friend of Leopold, who brings with him, without invitation, a pretty but exceptionally non-intelligent nurse, Dulcy (Inbar Danon). This is the arena where the amusing chain of events takes place.
In what follows an intelligent, sophisticated, amusing but also irritating narrative develops on stage. It addresses questions about monogamy, desire, love and their opposites, all arising as secrets and side-affairs develop among the members of the group. As the plot advances, secrets from the past about relations between the partners, emotions that did not materialize, and other hidden incidents begin to emerge. The viewer follows the quest for the answers to the most intriguing questions and thoughts – whether the never-ending power and allure of the young and attractive lover, or the illusion of passion and craving that each one of us shares. Questions about adultery, jealousy or the uncontrolled need for possession are intertwined with the humour and comedy of events on stage. This entire action is intertwined with Allen’s tendency to invent irrational methods to investigate the metaphysical and spiritual world and the mental aspects of love.
That is, without too many spoilers, the recipe for the great script. Turning to the performances first and foremost it must be said that director Segal’s cast is one of the best and most accurate I have seen lately. Each and every one of the actors deserves warm applause for pleasurable, professional and comprehensive acting. Krief makes an honorable, vain and reliable Leopold, whose opening speech is stirring and philosophical. Brovinsky constitutes a passionate, temperamental Maxwell that you can’t take your eyes from; Shulman is a great Andrew for his voice, body language and a deep understanding of the character’s temperament; Weinberg is such a perfect match for introvert Adrian that you can hardly believe someone else did it in the film; Danon provides a hilarious, sweet and Lolita-like Dulcy, and finally – Dubrovitsky plays marvellously the sexy, devious but noble Ariel. Her facial mimes are accurate in a very rigorous way.
Neta Haker produced wonderful costumes, down to the smallest details such as Ariel’s red dress (to emphasize her alluring character) while the rest wear white The mise-en-scène is well directed, with the scenes being highly authentic and the movement on stage is symmetrical. The philosophical texts are knitted together nicely every once in a while, and you get to laugh almost the whole time. This is all very enjoyable. In a few scenes, maybe another configuration for the actors could have been more reliable. For example, the badminton scene is a bit inaccurate, and when the actors stand and look at the magical machine’s silhouettes they could perhaps stand with their back to the audience. Maybe the set for dinner could have been changed more swiftly. But those minor criticisms aside, I would highly recommend the play.
Don’t miss Segal’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy’ – it will be the next thing that theatre lovers will talk about. A fantastic play.
- By Woody Allen
- Translated by: Yaron Brovinsky, Muli Shulman
- Director: Shahar Segal
- Cast Includes: Yaron Brovinsky, Anna Dubrovitsky, Inbar Danon, Michal Weinberg, Amir Krief, Muli Shulman
- Be'er Sheva Theatre, Be'er Sheva, Israel
- Review by Noa Goren
- 30 June 2016