Much Ado About Nothing
Studio 1 Remakes Another Bard Classic"
By Charity Apple / Times-News
Posted Jul. 10, 2014 at 12:01 AM
Fun, 1970s-style is what Studio 1’s “Much Ado About Nothing” offers audiences.
The funky twist on William Shakespeare’s classic play about politics, betrayal and love is eye-catching with its homage to all things ’70s, complete with music from K.C. and the Sunshine Band and The O’Jays, among others.
Vinyl boots, white leather disco shoes, psychedelic print dresses and bellbottoms — costume designer Tracy Carey has assembled it all. Don’t expect to see a set from the 1500s, either.
Paintings of Richard Nixon emerging from a plane, along with characters from “All in the Family” and “M*A*S*H” to Led Zeppelin on stage and flower-child portraits, were all expertly designed by Dale Johnson Jr., along with set construction by Randy Phillips and Lance Kress.
Artistic director Tami Kress is known for taking classic stories and adding unexpected twists such as last year’s post-apocalyptic version of “Macbeth.” Despite what Shakespearean purists might think, in both instances, the changes work.
Partying and revelry were as much a part of the 1500s as the 1970s. The ’70s also were a time for political upheaval and searching for one’s place in the world. TV clips and commercials from the 1976 Bicentennial celebration, including a Coke ad from that era, are included. Patriotism is definitely a focus of this show and given that the Fourth Of July was just last week, it’s timely, too.
Rumors, gossip and passion fuel Shakespeare’s comedic play, but it’s breathing life into those classic words that can be challenging for modern-day performers. The tale of love and loss, however, is timeless.
Elisa Cobb, as Hero, is paired with her real-life husband, David, who plays Claudio. This talented newlywed couple display all of the giddiness that new love should bring.
Reanna Roane embodies Beatrice’s joy and exuberance. Roane cited it as one of her dream roles and audiences won’t be able to take their eyes off her; she’s that good.
Christian Moore plays Beatrice’s love interest, Benedick, and he is equally as mesmerizing whether he’s being serious or comical. Other standouts include Marcus Surgeon as Prince Don Pedro and Richard Gang as Antonio.
Lively, entertaining and joyous all describe Studio 1’s take on the classic play “Much Ado About Nothing.” Whether you were born in the 1970s or just love the music and vibe, you’ll enjoy this show.