Friday, June 06, 2014

Much Ado About Nothing

The many productions of Much Ado About Nothing I have seen boasted wonderful Beatrices or wonderful Benedicks, but not since Sam Waterson and Kathleen Widdoes in the glorious AJ Antoon version (available on DVD) have I seen a wonderful Beatrice-Benedick pair.

Hamish Linklater, Lily Rabe
Photo: Tammy Shell
Last night, I went into the New York Shakespeare Festival production at the Delacorte, starring Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater, with optimism. Both performers are excellent, funny, likeable, and comfortable with Shakespearean language. Would they make the sexy, smart, evenly matched couple I've been hoping for since the 1970s?

Yes! They are everything I hoped for. Add to that smooth direction by Jack O'Brien, gorgeous design by John Lee Beatty, and nice acting by a largely strong cast, and this is a Much Ado to see.

Since I saw the third performance, it would be premature to give a full review, particularly in terms of any weaknesses (which were minimal). But it's not too early to say: get thee to the Delacorte.

And, speaking of the Delacorte--what a magical place it is! I've seen over a dozen shows there, some more than once, and every single time I walk up the stairs and into the theatre, my heart says Wow!

(won tickets in the lottery; row U, extreme audience right)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you loved this version, and both leads. Have you seen the movie with Kenneth Brannagh and Emma Thompson? I think they are both wonderful, and the movie's pretty good despite Keanu Reeves and an oddly cast Denzel Washington.