My friend William knows I’m a theater buff and had heard about Gritty City Rep’s production of Much Ado about Nothing, so while my hubby was cycling down the coast of California, I accompanied William to the Flight Deck to check out this enterprising youth group’s take on the Bard.
It was the best production of Much Ado I’ve ever seen! The young cast was stellar, the set was inspired, and the direction brought out aspects of the script in fresh ways. This production is set in the soulful 70s, and the clothes and hairstyles were authentically vintage. The array of musical selections had me moving with the beat and wanting to dance. When is the last time you could say that of a Shakespeare performance?
I’ve always considered this comedy rather dark in its slut-shaming wedding scene, but the melodramatic tears from both mother and daughter made it easier to laugh, especially when the last laugh was on those who maligned innocent Hero. A particularly funny scene involved the comically cast small female as the chief of police, who is able to capture Don John’s evil minions in a slapstick fight scene that drew guffaws from the crowd. But one of my favorite scenes is when the whole cast breaks out into the Hustle, a dance move that was popular long before any of the actors was born.
I wish the show had a longer run so that I could recommend it to everyone, but sadly, tonight is its last showing, after which they’re having a disco dance party before they have to strike the set tomorrow.
But I await with enthusiasm productions from Gritty City Rep in the future.