Shakespeare production “entertains” audience

I have never really been an avid Shakespeare enthusiast, nor have I actively sought out performances based on his work. However, The Aquila Theatre Company’s Feb. 7 performance in Norton Auditorium of “Much Ado About Nothing” did not disappoint.

The Aquila Theatre Company is based in New York City and they “endeavor to create bold reinterpretations of classical plays for contemporary audiences that free the spirit of the original work and recreate the excitement of the live performance,” according to their website.

They added a modern twist to this Shakespearean work, and these additions made it quite entertaining.

The performance entails a wedding sabotage, the faking of a death and a challenge, which ends in mockery.

“Much Ado About Nothing” tells the story of Benedick and Beatrice, who swear they will never marry. Spoiler alert: they marry each other after a series of interesting events.

I’m a sucker for a strong female character, so Beatrice was my favorite character. I loved her saucy attitude and the way Palmyra Mattner portrayed her on-stage. I firmly believe she brought the play to life.

Another aspect of the play I enjoyed was their use of music. There were ample amounts of classic rock and pop songs, like Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” and Bette Midler’s “The Rose” weaved into the lines. The performance even featured Queen.

Personally, I loved the implementation of these songs, because I listen to these songs and ones like them on a regular basis.

Those who read any amount of Shakespeare’s work knows he had quite the crude sense of humor. The cast did a great job of acting it out and bringing his words to the stage. Hearing the humor and being able to laugh aloud was better than trying to suppress a giggle in the middle of an English class.

The actors were marvelous, and they conveyed a great sense of passion into their work; however, there were only three people portraying several characters. This confused me, and it took me a while to catch on.

Thankfully, the programs included summaries of the acts. I read them before the show began and re-read them during the intermission to ensure I was understanding the plot correctly.

The comedy, romance and overall entertainment value of the performance left me satisfied, and I am glad I attended.

I would recommend any of The Aquila Theater Company’s performances to any English major or literary enthusiast, but I think anyone can find value in the work this group does.