Shakespeare Orange County opened its last play of the season with “Much Ado About Nothing” over the weekend and proved that true love can conquer all; even faked death and perpetual bachelorhood.
One of the more relatable plays from Shakespeare, this one was chosen for its levity at the end of the season.
The show employs great use of physical comedy without it becoming too campy, pays homage to flappers, makeshift ukuleles and even a musical washboard.
The timing and direction are very good in this show, with good humor put in at unexpected times.
Michael Nehring plays a witty, heart and hale and sometimes swaggering Benedick with Evelyn Carol Case as a saucy and well-delivered Beatrice. This version of Beatrice is the start of the party and the last one to leave it.
Rather than have Benedick and Beatrice be played as the cousin and friend of an age with lovers Hero, played by Malia Wright, and Claudio, played by Shaun Anthony, they are well fitted as the more experienced and worldly counterparts being confirmed life long bachelor and bachelorette, respectively.
Case makes Beatrice a lively and wry modern woman (the only woman who wears pants during the whole show) and it fits well with her being very guarded of her cousin Hero.
There are some jazz music interludes in the play that are different and on one occasion a little distracting from the dialogue. Other than that, the use of singing during Hero’s epithet is lovely.
Unexpectedly, a great deal of humor comes from the Don John and Borachio characters. Don John is played by Brian Clark, whose expressions or sometimes lack of them, bring out a more devious and funny side of that dark character.
Borachio, well-played by Nicholas Thurkettle, is interpreted as less of a scheming accomplice and more of a drink sodden tippler with a penchant for the ladies.
Claudio and Hero are blush-faced young lovers convincingly besotted with each other as they should be.
Constable Dogberry, Craig Brown, Verges, Bonnie Walker, Hugh Oatcake, Kevin Swanstrom, Georgia Seacoal and Cindy Nguyen all have great form in being the high kicking and comedic “Prince’s Watch.”
Audience members Jennifer and Judith Treyvour agreed that the play was very well executed and Paul Mullen, it being his first play, said he was very entertained.
“That is the idea, I suppose,” said Mullen.
The show will play until Sept. 1 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:15 p.m. at the Garden Grove Festival Amphitheatre, located at 12762 Main St. in Garden Grove.
For tickets and pricing call, 714-590-1575 or go online at www.shakespeareoc.org.