Media Thursday: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Toil and Trouble Burlesque (theater review)

A couple of nights back, Lisa and I (and two other couples) took a jaunt down to the Federal Bar in North Hollywood to check out Toil and Trouble Burlesque‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Now if you’ve been following this Project, you know this is not my first rodeo. I’ve caught two different revue-type burlesque presentation of scenes from Shakespeare, mixed with songs, jokes, and some very meta references. Oh, and the taking off of clothes.

You know: the nearly-perfect reverse-engineered night of entertainment for me.

Last summer, Lisa and I caught the first go-round of what now looks to become a summer staple in Los Angeles. And I liked it.

The show is pretty much the same as last year, though with some new songs, a couple of new performers in old roles, and seemingly a slightly larger focus on the three supporting fairies. It’s also been fine-tuned.

Now last year, I said that I liked the revue-type shows a little better, but I think that’s just me (I like to see a greater mix of characters to allow for a variety of burlesque performances). I say that it’s just me because the two couples we took (whom we also took to “The Madhouse” earlier in the year) both enjoyed this one more. It was, to their thinking, less disjointed, more of “a story,” and as my friend Jason says, “HI-larious.”


Angie Hobin, creative producer for the show, deserves kudos for a great adaptation (and her Helena is a wonderfully comic turn). There’s really not a weak link in the performances. There were a couple of technical glitches (amplified sound in such a small space can be finicky), and damn, some sound bleed from outside of the bar was distracting as the show reached its crescendo with “Pyramus and Thisbe.” But really, this is a blast.

They’ve got one more summer performance: Tuesday, August 28, at the same North Hollywood location. And if Shakespeare, song, dance, stripping, comedy and drinking make for a good night of entertainment for you, you’ve got the perfect way to end your summer!

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