‘Much Ado,’ indeed

One of the Bard’s most
beloved romantic comedies, “Much Ado About Nothing” tells the story of
two couples, one comprised of marriage-averse Benedick and Beatrice, the
other of all-too-eager young lovers Claudio and Hero. Through the
meddling of others, both sets are duped in different ways.

Berg plays blowhard bachelor-for-life Benedick. His initial pomposity
transitions nicely into a more self-aware and yielding performance.
Reduxion Managing Director Erin Woods is a perfect foil as Beatrice,
fully embodying her fierce intelligence, sharp wit and unpretentious

Kyle Gossett
successfully portrays Claudio, who embodies all the best and worst
traits of young love. Kathryn Spurr, making her Reduxion debut, makes a
strong impression as Hero, the target of Claudio’s affection and scorn.
Although Hero is not nearly as interesting on the surface as her
headstrong cousin Beatrice, Spurr strikes just the right balance of
obedience and heartache against strength and conviction.

Hero’s beleaguered father, David Fletcher-Hall delivers a portrayal
both powerful and naturalistic, aided by his authentic English accent.
As Don Pedro, Sam Bearer turns in another precise vocal performance.

Barry is lovely in her brief turn as Beatrice’s gentlewoman attendant,
but is brilliant in her comically daring portrayal of Don Jon, the
villainous brother to Don Pedro. While it’s comedy gold, Don Jon loses
some potency as a threat. Barry scores even more laughs as the lecherous
elderly guard, Verges.

cast is rounded out by Reduxion regulars Jeffrey Burleson and Ian
Clinton. Burleson’s testosterone-infused turn as the idiot Constable
Dogberry is hugely entertaining, despite some intentional malapropisms
getting lost in the comical Italian accent. Clinton is solid as
remorseful villain Barochio, but truly shines as Ursula, Hero’s gentlewoman attendant.

actor in drag is always sure to entertain, but Clinton goes beyond
female parody to create a character who is sweet, bubbly and imminently
watchable in little stage time.

The show has been infused with music, courtesy of Gossett, pulling double duty as music director.

of this — along with incisive direction and spry staging by Tyler
Woods, and sharp costumes by Lloyd Cracknell — helps make this
400-year-old play feel fresh and unpredictable without a single edit to
the text.

Eric Webb

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