Much Ado About Nothing
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Steven Underwood

Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, as performed by Marin Shakespeare Company in San Rafael, is really about the funny ways something comes out of nothing. In the beginning there is nothing but contempt for the opposite sex in the characters of Beatrice and Benedick. When together, they argue with each other with a “rapier-like wit” which keeps the audience laughing. Their hatred for each other shoots like fire from their lips, and it doesn’t take the audience long to realize that this is destined to become one of the great love/hate relationships of all time. When their friends scheme up a comic plot destined to turn their hate to love the audience delights in its revelation. This is especially true when actors Susan Wilder and Scott Coopwood play the parts of Beatrice and Benedick. Their comic talent, particularly in the eavesdropping scenes will keep you rolling in the isles. Adding to the fun are statues of Cupid throughout the garden that come to life long enough to make silent commentary on these would-be lovers.

Then there is the something that turns out to be nothing. After proposing marriage to Hero (Laurie Keith), Claudio (Patrick Leveque) believes a rumor that Hero has been unfaithful to him. The rumor is untrue, but until proven to be nothing, it stirs a lot of trouble to include one of the only potentially tragic scenes in this fun filled comedy. The trouble comes when Beatrice and Benedick are finally able to admit their love for each other. Benedick tells Beatrice to command anything of him to prove his love for her. So upset by Claudio’s accusations toward Hero, Beatrice commands Benedick to kill Claudio. This dissonant cord echoes hints that Beatrice may bear a dual nature, which under the wrong circumstances could turn her into a Lady Macbeth. But Benedick shrinks from her command and diffuses the situation by confessing honestly that this he cannot do. Tragedy is averted and all ends happily as a comedy should.

The entire cast delivers top performances including a local militia group that bungles their way through low comedy into resolving all the ado about nothing.

For tickets or more information call (415) 499-4488 or visit www.marinshakespeare.org.

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