The acclaimed comic staging of Much Ado About Nothing by New York City's Aquila Theatre Company, the cross-cultural troupe that uses British and American actors, will offer an extra Friday performance beginning Nov. 16.
The company plays in Manhattan Ensemble Theater's digs at 55 Mercer Street in Soho. The 3 PM Sunday show is being discontinued and tacked onto Fridays, when performances play 7 PM and 10 PM. The 7 PM Sunday show remains. The run was originally planned to continue only to Nov. 11, but a spokesperson said the show is now open-ended and will likely continue to the holidays.
The hip revival of the Shakespeare comedy, set in James Bond era England, with slick costumes and "Avengers"-style poses and attitudes, had a popular summer run at 45 Bleecker before moving to the MET space. School groups and New Yorkers hungry for Shakespeare with a twist have sought out the funky staging.
The Robert Richmond-directed company — bedecked in slinky 1960s-style suits, bowlers and jumpsuits designed by Beau Brummel — includes Daryll Heysham (Leonato), Evan Robertson (Claudio/Verges), Coleman Zeigen (Don Pedro/Borachio), Anthony Cochrane (Benedick and the show's composer), Lisa Carter (Beatrice), Louis Butelli (Friar/Don John/Dogberry), Cameron Blair (Margaret) and Shirleyann Kaladjian (Margaret). Alex Webb, Richard Willis and Nathan Flower (who played the summer months) exited the show Sept. 16 for other gigs. Willis and Flower are touring in Aquila's Tempest, and Webb is appearing in Arena Stage's Of Mice and Men in Washington, DC.
The Much Ado text has been trimmed to retain the guts of Shakespeare, and is re-set in the era of James Bond-like spy games. Richmond and Peter Meineck design, Meineck is lighting designer and Beau Brummel and Nate Terracio execute the costumes. Tickets are $30-$40. Beginning Nov. 16, performances play 8 PM Tuesday-Thursday, 7 PM and 10 PM Friday, 5 PM and 9 PM Saturday and 7 PM Sunday. For ticket information, call TeleCharge ar (212) 239-6200 or visit Aquila at www.aquilatheatre.com. To view a Playbill On-Line Brief Encounter interview with Aquila artistic director Peter Meineck, click here.
— By Kenneth Jones