The 400-year-old battle of wits between the deliciously sharp-tongued Beatrice and Benedick erupts anew throughout the Shakespeare Theatre Firm’s dazzling manufacturing of A lot Ado About Nothing. Below the impressed path of Simon Godwin, STC’s inventive director, a high-spirited forged led by Kate Jennings Grant as Beatrice and Rick Holmes as Benedick whip up a pleasant and imaginative new tackle Shakespeare’s beloved comedy.
Right here, Beatrice and Benedick have morphed into preening co-anchors on SNN (Shakespeare Information Community). They commerce their legendary barbs as fawning workers attend to them with lint rollers, making ready them for prime time. The stunning Hero (Nicole King) and her fiancé, Claudio (Paul Deo Jr.), cowl sports activities and climate respectively.
Leonato (Edward Gero), the newscast’s avuncular producer, practices his putts on an workplace inexperienced. The malaprop-prone Constable Dogberry (Dave Quay) is head of SNN Safety. Don John (Justin Adams), the bastard brother of company government Don Pedro (Carlo Albán), snorts cocaine as he contemplates villainy. More often than not, this reimagining of Shakespeare’s beloved characters lands exactly on track.
All method of latest cultural bits stud this vigorous manufacturing. Who wants eyewitness accounts of supposed treachery when iPhones and omnipresent surveillance cameras are there to file pretend information. Godwin even finds a brand new use for flame retardant.
The newsroom setting supplies a intelligent approach of commenting on different Shakespearean performs. Breaking information learn rapid-fire interrupts the script, alerting us to the newest fatalistic adventures of Hamlet, King Lear, Antony, and Cleopatra.
Grant and Holmes give first-rate performances because the couple who like to hate earlier than succumbing to what we all know all alongside — they’re desperately gobsmacked by each other. Watch them skate to the precipice of falling in love, teeter, and claw their approach again to the cliffs of imperious disdain till Beatrice lastly admits, “I like you with a lot of my coronary heart that none is left to protest.” Delight within the pair’s hilarious bodily comedy as they vamp round (and in) rolling rubbish bins, lurk behind potted vegetation, and flatten themselves beneath couches, hiding in plain sight as the opposite characters trick them into believing that every is affected by unrequited love.
Scenic Designer Alexander Dodge creates numerous confections for the attention. The revolving stage transports us from the newsroom to the C-Suite, the masked ball to Dogberry’s scruffy safety workplace. Rows of TV screens, precisely what you’ll discover in a serious newsroom, thrum with an identical, repeated photographs worthy of Andy Warhol.
Costume Designer Evie Gurney has a discipline day with outfits that develop on the mirth. Beatrice’s first ensemble, a form-fitting gown with jagged decorations, appears impressed by a mouthful of shark’s enamel. Benedick’s more and more foppish put on culminates with an ensemble spiked by the brightest pink doable. The masked ball is pure eye sweet, with spangled clothes and superhero get-ups.
So profitable is Godwin’s general manufacturing that the supposed betrayal of Claudio by Hero appears particularly anachronistic. Whereas even in a extra conventional manufacturing it’s typically troublesome for contemporary audiences to just accept how simply Hero’s fiancé and father flip in opposition to her, it appears downright perplexing within the context of “MeToo” period America. How may such a contemporary lady working in a presumably “woke” surroundings be so misbelieved? The motion bogs down a short time we attempt to readjust our expectations.
And but, the tug-of-war between Claudio’s accusations and Hero’s denial of impropriety provides Beatrice and Benedick an opportunity to actually join. Stretching towards one another past the whacky burlesque of Godwin’s manufacturing, the 2 exhibit a nuanced, shape-shifting humanity that endears them to us over centuries of performances. Whether or not set in a buzzy 2022 newsroom or Elizabethan-era Europe, Beatrice and Benedick supply a timeless life-affirming tribute to the facility of affection.
Working Time: Two hours 45 minutes, together with one 15-minute intermission
A lot Ado About Nothing performs by way of December 11, 2022, at Shakespeare Theatre Firm’s Sidney Harman Corridor — 610 F Road NW, Washington, DC. For tickets ($35–$120) name 202-547-1122 or buy them on-line. Particular reductions can be found for army, college students, seniors, and patrons aged 35 and beneath. Contact the Field Workplace at 202-547-1122 or go to ShakespeareTheatre.org for extra data.
This system for A lot Ado About Nothing is on-line right here.
Open-captioned performances can be on Thursday, December 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 26 at 2:00 p.m.
An audio-described efficiency can be on Saturday, December 3 at 2:00 p.m.
COVID Security: Masks are REQUIRED on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays. Masks are RECOMMENDED on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The Shakespeare Theatre’s full COVID Heath and Security Coverage is right here.