Care to imagine a world of gay Shakespearean make believe. Well imagine no more, for here co-writer and director Tom Gustafson conjures up a gay musical midsummer dream and along the way, takes delight in reinterpreting the work of the Bard.
And it all centers around Timothy, an out teen trying to get by in a town ingrained with homophobia and inparticular from the rugby obsessed players at his school, that is apart from sporting hero Jonathon, who appears not to share his fellow jocks sexual bigotry. But all that is about to change, courtesy of quirky drama teacher Ms Tebbit and her
inspired staging of the Shakespearean classic 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' And having chosen Timothy to enact the role of Puck, prompting the line "my son - he's a fairy - in a play - and in real life too," it isn't long before Timothy discovers how to make rainbow coloured love drops that "should they touch upon your tender cheek, will henceforth
make your sex the desire you seek." And boy do they work, as the hitherto hetero rugby team start having feelings for each other, along with seemingly almost all of the townsfolk! Only with complications arising courtesy of Timothy now being pursued by both his best friends' boyfriend and the star jock that he once only dare but dream of, surely the time is nigh for "all good sports to come to an end and make true love, no longer pretend."
Whilst countering homophobia the Shakespearean way, this captivating work playfully sends the whole thing up. That it succeeds is thanks largely to the fine work and vocal tones of Tanner Cohen in the lead role, who together with an energetic cast play the whole dazzlingly scenario to a tee. Only here specific credit must go to Judy McLane as
Timothy's mother Donna and Wendy 'Twin Peaks' Robie who reprises her role as the spirited drama teacher of the piece. For just as Timothy's fantasy escape from the reality of homophobia turned into fact, here Gustafson's 2003 short 'Fairies' was so to turned into feature length reality.
Sure some of the scenes descend into farce, but that said amongst the musical numbers, Gustafson does touch upon some serious notes. From the homophobic hatred of the religious right to the controversial issue of gay marriage in America, here is a director who set out to highlight the prejudices of the outside world, let alone the mindset of a small town community, even going as far as to have Timothy's mother whilst accepting of her son's homosexuality, far from happy about it.
That he did so in an uplifting way, is indicative of such issues being but minor notes in the scale of entertainment. For this is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, a film that is overflowing with songs, dance routines and homoerotic passion, let alone the manly physique of Nathaniel David Becker as lover boy Jonathon. Only to add whether the two boys will still be together when "all is mended" would be saying. But prepare to be enchanted by this glittering feel-good reworking of Shakespeare, "as manly gentlemen doth turn away, to henceforth embrace all that's gay!" Delightful.