With the heart and spirit like that of those involved at Long Beach Shakespeare Company, the writing of its eponym shall transcend time and touch audiences for years to come.
In observance of the 400th anniversary of Bill’s death, the theatre’s current production is the last in its “A Wake for Shakespeare” season.
Yes, we all know William Shakespeare is great; he was a literary genius. I mean, the man invented words that we still use today. A little lesser known secret, though? Long Beach Shakespeare Company’s latest production of Much Ado About Nothing is also kind of genius.
A comedy packed with love, deceit, disguises and snappy comebacks, this play has the ability to split sides and leave abdomens quivering for more laughs with sharp lines and witty comebacks.
The script was easily brought to life, seemingly unchanged from its original form, never mind the modern rewrites or interpretations. Do not be intimidated though– it is still easily digested and hilarious, thanks to the talented actors.
An amusing play, Much Ado really picks up speed as soon as minor servant character (Demarquis Rembert) enters the stage. His physical humor and nose for meddling set the tone for the comedic timing, as he lurked in the corners clearly hiding unsuccessfully, yet somehow is never seen by other characters. Unbeknownst to him, he is eavesdropping on the plot of the play: visiting soldier Count Claudio (Tate Howell) is in love with Princess Hero (Melhia Piot). The servant runs to his master, the evil Don Jon (Leonardo Lerma), who plans to use this information to ruin the union of his brother’s kingdom with Princess Hero’s.
A series of hijinks and masked identities follows, creating a ball of tension and confusion to unravel. An unexpected and delightful surprise lies within the pipes of actress Rachel Tully, who plays one of Hero’s maids, as she gifts the audience with two solo songs.
With an intimate crowd of less than a dozen, cast members did their best to push through, and they did for the most part, with only a few faltering lines and notably awkward scenes (as if someone had forgotten a line or cue). The natural dangers of live theatre hardly phased this Bardly crew.
Long Beach Shakespeare Company’s Much Ado About Nothing runs through Sept. 17 at the Goad Theatre, 4250 Atlantic Ave. Showtimes are at 8pm on Saturdays and 2pm on Sundays. Visit lbshakespeare.org or call (562) 889-2406 for full tickets or more information.