Let’s review: Highly amusing Much Ado About Nothing opens at Old Globe
By Diana Saenger
One of Barry Edelstein’s aspirations, as The Old Globe’s artistic director, is to stage more Shakespeare productions in its indoor theaters. And so ”Much Ado About Nothing,” directed by James Newcomb (“A Midsummer Night Dream”), fills that bill. It’s playing in the White Theatre as a joint venture of The Old Globe and the University of San Diego’s Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Arts program.
Written by William Shakespeare, presumably in 1598 and 1599, “Much Ado About Nothing” taps into love and honor, and still charms audiences today. Shakespeare manages to weave a tale of deception and romance into an interesting and very amusing story.
The Globe’s production is thoroughly entertaining with a cast of 16 actors who perform their roles very well. The terrific costumes by Elisa Benzoni, and skillful scenic design by Sean Fanning, help the mischief and silly antics merge perfectly.
Two couples are at the center of the romantic comedy. Claudio (Stephen Hu), a member of the Florence Court is immediately offered the hand in marriage of Hero (Allison Layman) by her father, Leonato (Kushtrim Hoxha), the Governor of Messina. Both are delighted by the situation, but fate soon intervenes to disrupt their plans.
Love also blooms between Benedick (Robbie Simpson) of Padua and companion of Don Pedro (Lowell Byers), and Beatrice (Meaghan Boeing) who is Leonato’s niece. Their romance also faces obstacles; first off, he is a sworn bachelor.
Mischief is alive in this amusing and witty world of romance. Benedick and Beatrice seem unlikely lovers; every time they are together they quarrel over the silliest things, although with a slight flirtation.
Although Claudio and Hero’s love is instant and they are happy as honeybees, Don John (Adam Gerber), the obnoxious Prince and brother of Don Pedro has other ideas. On the couple’s wedding day, Don Pedro sets up a scheme to claim that Hero has been unfaithful to Claudio. This causes Claudio to spout ugly accusations at Hero.
Instead of defending his daughter, Leonato goes into a fit of rage (played excellently by Hoxha) that practically destroys Hero.
Can the calm and intuitive Friar (Tyler Kent) solve this mystery? Will Leonato come to his senses?
If you go
What: ‘Much Ado About Nothing’
When: Matinees, evenings to Nov. 17
Where: The Old Globe Theatre’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park, San Diego
Tickets: From $19
Phone: (619) 234-5623
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