Brooks and Grantham Coleman play Shakespeare’s battling lovers on this bucolic manufacturing in Central Park.
The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare within the Park productions may be provocative, irritating, enlightening or maddening, however they’re all the time enjoyable. In his new staging of “A lot Ado About Nothing” with a forged led by Danielle Brooks, director Kenny Leon (“A Raisin within the Solar,” “American Son”) delivers the enjoyable in a slaphappy, dance-crazy model of Shakespeare’s most likable, if thematically troubling, romantic comedy. (Fast reminder: that is a type of performs during which girls are handled cruelly for suspected however unproven sexual infidelity.)
Extra musically inclined than most productions of this much-performed play, this giddy, crowdpleasing remedy owes so much to 2 “Choir Boy” creatives, composer Jason Michael Webb and choreographer Camille A. Brown. Singing and swinging to every thing from Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” to church gospel hymns, the present is one massive get together — actually: a celebration staged on the vine-covered nation mansion designed by Beowulf Boritt for the nobleman Leonato (Chuck Cooper, at his most avuncular).
On this modern-day model, the yr is 2020, an election yr, and in accordance with a prominently displayed marketing campaign banner, Stacey Abrams is working for president. However don’t get your hopes up for any pointed political satire, as a result of except for some snazzy army uniforms designed by Emilio Sosa, that’s the start and the top of the political references.
Again within the play correct, Leonato’s daughter, Hero (Margaret Odette), and a younger soldier named Claudio (Jeremie Harris) fall in love throughout a romantic masked ball. With the spirit of affection within the air, the buddies of Beatrice (feisty Brooks from “Orange Is the New Black”) and Benedick (Grantham Coleman, who cuts a really high-quality determine) contrive to show these famously battling lovers into the proper mates they’re meant to be.
To the credit score of Leon (and, presumably, vocal coach Kate Wilson), your complete forged does exceptionally properly by the Shakespearean language. Brooks and Coleman have essentially the most enjoyable batting across the flirty wordplay, however even these actors taking part in minor characters appear to relish talking the clean verse. Solely the comedian reduction gamers, Dogberry (Lateefah Holder) and firm, go too far, overdoing their buffoonish characters and leaning too closely on the double entendres.
Below the magical spell of theater within the park, nobody might increase severe objections to the occasional license taken with the play. With a romcom like “A lot Ado” in a setting just like the out of doors Delacorte Theater, we’re all groundlings, consuming our oranges and laughing our silly heads off.