The acclaimed comic staging of Much Ado About Nothing by Aquila Theatre Company, the cross-cultural troupe that uses British and American actors, resumes performances Sept. 25 at Manhattan Ensemble Theater's digs at 55 Mercer Street.
With a few cast changes and some tweaks with the physical production, the production has its official re-opening Sept. 27. Like many businesses and theatre companies in New York City, Aquila was impacted by the Sept. 11 World Trade Center tragedy. Performances Sept. 11-13 were scrapped at 45 Bleecker, where the hip new production of the Shakespeare classic had a popular summer run. Performances at 45 Bleecker ended Sept. 16 to accommodate a previous booking (which has now canceled).
Joining the Robert Richmond-directed company — bedecked in slinky 1960s-style suits, bowlers and jumpsuits designed by Beau Brummel — are Daryll Heysham (Leonato), Evan Robertson (Claudio/Verges) and Coleman Zeigen (Don Pedro/Borachio). Original company members Anthony Cochrane (Benedick and the show's composer), Lisa Carter (Beatrice), Louis Butelli (Friar/Don John/Dogberry), Cameron Blair (Margaret) and Shirleyann Kaladjian (Margaret) continue. Alex Webb, Richard Willis and Nathan Flower exited the show Sept. 16 for other gigs. Willis and Flower head off to tour in Aquila's Tempest, and Webb begins rehearsals for 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. For information, call (212) 992-9642 or visit the website at www.aquilatheatre.com. To view a Playbill On-Line Brief Encounter interview with Aquila artistic director Peter Meineck, click on "Brief Encounter" in the gray navigation area of PBOL's front page.
— By Kenneth Jones