A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Commonwealth Shakespeare

Boston Common
July 24 – 29, 2007

As Theseus, with Mimi Bilinski as Hippolyta (PHOTO: T. Charles Erickson)

As Oberon, with Antonio Edwards-Suarez as Puck (PHOTO: T. Charles Erickson)

Critical Response

Johnny Lee Davenport has a commanding physical presence and a rich sonorous voice that’s ideal for the dual roles of Oberon and Theseus, moving between the two worlds with ease.”
—Robert Nesti, EDGE Boston (July 24, 2007)

“Led by the impeccable, elegant Shakespearean actor Johnny Lee Davenport as both Oberon, King of the Fairies, and Theseus, Duke of Athens, the cast made sure that every line and metaphor was as clear and comprehensible as everyday speech, including Shakespeare’s eloquent evocations of nature’s bounties. Davenport, a long-time veteran of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, created two separate beings: the cool, imperial Duke and the mercurial, slithering King of the Forest, delivering his lines with an echo of animal sounds.”
—Iris Fanger, The Patriot Ledger, (July 27, 2007)

“This wild Puck is a nice foil, too, for the stately grandeur of Johnny Lee Davenport’s Oberon, who sometimes sounds almost too majestic for the rambunctious atmosphere.”
—Louise Kennedy, Boston Globe (July 27, 2007)

“No theatrical performance in the city is more likely to draw a huge crowd. It’s free, after all, and you can hardly catch a movie at the cineplex across Tremont Street without hearing the booming voice of Oberon (Johnny Lee Davenport) echoing across the Common. And if the swelling audience Thursday night was any indication, Shakespeare is far from dead to contemporary audiences.”
—Jenna Scherer, Boston Herald (July 28, 2007)

“Fred Sullivan, Jr. as Bottom was especially effective. . . . Similar praise must also go to Johnny Lee Davenport as Oberon, the King of the Fairies.”
—Norm Gross, Metro South Daily News (July 2007)

“Even more important to making the show cohere was the sheer fun so many members of the cast had with the particular opportunities the language offers. This began with Shakespeare & Company veteran Johnny Lee Davenport, an imposing African-American actor with a booming and resonant baritone that can be, and has been in various productions in the area, both gripping and showy. For his roles of Theseus and Oberon (especially the latter) he played up the showiness with wonderful aplomb, relishing the lyricism and the speechifying grandiloquence in ways that fit perfectly with the utter flamboyance of Oberon’s costume (a shaggy, bright orange flounced cloak worn like plumage over a layer of orange and black spandex).”
—Yu JIN Ko, Wellesley College, “Shakespeare in New England 2007” for The Shakespeare Bulletin (Spring 2008)