Aquila Theatre Company's antic, hit staging of Much Ado About Nothing, set in a period of Cold War spy games that remind audiences of "The Avengers" and James Bond, will end its run Dec. 9 due to a previous booking at the Manhattan Ensemble Theater space.
Directed by Robert Richmond, with costumes by Beau Brummel, Much Ado began with a one-year U.S. tour, then played to sold-out houses and solid reviews June 28-Sept. 16 at 45 Bleecker Street (where they played 8 previews and 94 performances). The acclaimed comic staging by Aquila, the cross cultural troupe that uses British and American actors, resumed performances Sept. 25 (with a re-opening night of Sept. 27) at Manhattan Ensemble Theater's digs at 55 Mercer Street (where 84 performances will have played by Dec. 9).
Aquila artistic director Peter Meineck is currently in negotiations for a new home for the Shakespeare classic after a holiday break. The work may resurface in January 2002, the troupe announced.
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.
* The 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).
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.
The performance schedule is 8 PM Tuesday-Thursday, 7 PM and 10 PM Friday, 5 PM and 9 PM Saturday, 7 PM Sunday. Tickets range $30-$40. MET is at 55 Mercer between Broome and Grand in Soho. For information, call (212) 992-9642 or Tele-Charge at (212) 239-6200 or visit www.aquilatheatre.com.
. To view a Playbill On-Line Brief Encounter interview with Aquila artistic director Peter Meineck, click here.
Next up for Aquila Off-Broadway is a spring staging of Aristophanes' The Clouds, in a new translation by Meinick, which the troupe bills as "an ancient musical comedy." The theatre and dates will be announced. Robert Richmond directs, with a score by Anthony Cochrane.
— By Kenneth Jones