Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

[REVIEW] Much Ado About Nothing

I joined my ex, V., and his friends at High Park this afternoon and evening for a picnic and the well-reviewed CanStage performance of Much Ado about Nothing starting at 8 o'clock tonight, recommended donation of $C15. The picnic went well, though the performance was interrupted in Act 4 by the onset of rain. After twenty minutes' pause, the play continued to a triumphant conclusion.

The High Park amphitheatre, rows of earthen steps surrounding the triangular stage on one side, is a superb arena for public theatre performances like Much Ado About Nothing. This version of the play was set in a Jazz Age Italy that never could have existed, owing to Italian fascism's disdain for the softer things in life, like romance, or jazz music, or mixed-race couples. (There's a uchronic thought for you.) The performance was superb. I admit that it helped that they were able to project their voices so well, also that I could see their facial expression with my new glasses. Jacklyn Francis' langourously acerbic Beatrice deserves particular praise for her casual destruction and salvation of Benedick.

The problem was with the script. Mercurial shifts from love to hate to love? Purely destructive characters? A pitifully thin back story? The play has promise, I admit, but Shakespeare needs some work. Much Ado About Nothing works, but only so long as you don't stare too closely.
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