Puppets possess a unique brand of magic, and few Shakespeare plays steep themselves in magic as deeply as "A Midsummer Night's Dream" does. Credit co-directors Beth Kattelman and Dee Shepherd, both veteran puppeteers, for coming up with this perfect pairing for Actors' Theatre of Columbus' production in Schiller Park.

Puppets possess a unique brand of magic, and few Shakespeare plays steep themselves in magic as deeply as "A Midsummer Night's Dream" does. Credit co-directors Beth Kattelman and Dee Shepherd, both veteran puppeteers, for coming up with this perfect pairing for Actors' Theatre of Columbus' production in Schiller Park.

King Oberon's puppet sidekick, Puck (Dayton Edward Willison), vocally channels the Wicked Witch of the West with a comically evil cackle. The mischievous sprite delights in the chaos he perpetrates.

Queen Titania (Lori Cannon, who seems like she was born to speak the Bard's verse) leads a clothbound quartet of fairyland puppets. And when Nick Bottom (John Beeker), the weaver and thespian, is adorned with a donkey's head, he joins the puppet fraternity with honor.

Beeker and his "rude mechanicals" partners, Peter Quince (Philip Hickman), Francis Flute (Stephen Hanna), Robin Starveling (Anthony Baldasare), Tom Snout (Mark Hale Jr.) and Snug (Joey Albus), manage to make the sometimes tedious play within the play surprisingly fresh.

Among the other human characters, the four confused lovers deliver the goods with verbal dexterity. Jennifer Collins' Hermia and Julia Free's Helena are each fierce in their devotion and their anger. The objects of their respective attentions, Vince Reese's Lysander and A. John Beeler's Demetrius, exhibit great comic timing in their rivalry.

Although this production doesn't quite reach the distinction of Actors' puppet-powered 2009 production of "As You Like It," it's a "Dream" worthy of heading to the park.