But Midsummer Night's Drear

It's the fate of Anna Friel's character, Hermia, to get rather lost in so-so productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and sure enough, that's what happens in Michael Hoffman's adaptation, which oxymoronically manages to seem both leaden and hasty. Reset for no discernible reason from ancient Athens to 19th century Tuscany, it focuses on the fun stuff--the fairies who inhabit the damp but enchanted wood, the rude mechanicals (led by Kevin Kline's hammy but well-cured Bottom) and their awful-wonderful production of Pyramus and Thisbe.

Hoffman stages their play-within-a-play with energetic conviction, and Bottom's misalliance with Titania, the fairy queen (Michelle Pfeiffer),...

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