Identity, and desire, and taste are fickle things, A Midsummer Night's Dreams says.
The Mortal Folly's production was the better of the two, I agree with you on that, L. It was the group's first production, not just of this season, but of any season, and there was a real electricity and energy to the performance. My favorite bit, besides the music that you rightly point out was pretty top notch, was how dirty everyone was by the end of their time in Arden. This wasn't no roll around on the Great Lawn; those escaping kids went full-on into the wild.
What I liked about the Firecat show was that I didn't expect to like it very much. This is one of the odd and underlooked elements of the aesthetic experience, I think--the element of surprise. I looked around at that sparsely crowded theater, and then the players coming on stage--in what you correctly refer to as jazz shoes and body paint--and my eyes took a loooonnng roll.
But I found their take oddly captivating and courageous. It's the middlest of the summer here, the height of the theater season, and I don't think anyone is doing Shakespeare quite like Firecat was. And despite all its oddity--everyone on stage, the actors not facing the audience, all the players smushed against one another and moving about as if a single organism--the actors totally had me in thrall to the story.