Once again, the American Shakespeare Center’s resident troupe turns in terrific performances, this time in a rollicking production of Much Ado about Nothing. A performance that was sold out, I might add. For the first time in my memory there was a sign on the door announcing that only standing room was available. This is a very good sign, I think.
And this show is likely to continue playing to packed houses because it is so well done.
You know the story: Leanato of Messina agrees to marry his daughter, Hero, to Claudio. Meanwhile, Benedick and Beatrice, Leanato’s niece, engage in fierce, but flirtatious, bickering. But Don John, the bastard brother Pedro, Prince of Aragon, is jealous of the favors Pedro bestows upon Claudio, and so he plans to stop the wedding by ruining Hero’s reputation. And Benedick and Beatrice progress toward love with the help of their friends and family, who convince each that the other loves him/her.
While everyone in this cast shines, the highlight of this production is the chemistry between René Thornton Jr. as Benedict and Sarah Fallon as Beatrice. It’s a real pleasure to listen to their banter, and then watch them fall in love. Claudio and Hero, played by Tobias Shaw and Victoria Reinsel, are also terrific. And one of the finest moments in the play is the wedding scene when Leanato (James Keegan) hears Claudio’s allegations against Hero. As he is railing against his daughter I couldn’t help but think of Keegan’s King Lear.
Another great show at ASC.