Five actors bring twenty roles to life in this fun and fresh Freewill Shakespeare production.
By Aubrianna Snow: BTR Writer and Planner of Things to do When She Has Time Off
The enduring energy of five actors playing twenty characters kept the audience both invested and in stitches throughout David Horak’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
The production was set to a floral painted backdrop featuring the title of the play, which very effectively captured the jovial energy of the production without being distracting as the story progressed. The actors made creative use of the small stage area with props and excellent physical gags, including one particularly funny scene where Fatmi El Fassi El Fihri as Benedick listens in on a conversation by hiding behind the open lid of a chest, repeatedly almost being spotted by other characters. Actors created the environment around them as they went, one memorable example being a scene where actor Troy O’Donnell becomes a part of the scenery by facing away from the audience and dancing while holding a disco ball above his head.
El Fassi El Fihri’s portrayal of Benedick is a notable one as he engages with the audience in a lighthearted yet intentional and affecting way throughout the length of the show. He keeps folks laughing, but also elicits pity and warmth at the perfect moments.
Sarah Feutl also shines, particularly in her interpretation of Claudio. Her ability to jump back and forth between Claudio’s frustrated masculine energy and Beatrice’s sarcastic and coquettish mannerisms with nothing to assist her but a jacket and a pair of sunglasses is nothing short of captivating.
This switching between roles had the potential to be confusing if it wasn’t done correctly, but the changes in character were clearly conveyed through the cast’s quick costume changes and shifts in voice. This production of Much Ado About Nothing is a refreshing and funky take on Shakespeare’s classic comedy and cast members kept everyone laughing up until the very last moment
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