Trumpet solos and saxophone melodies fill a dance hall as women in short, fringe dresses smoke cigarettes in long holders. Men in suits and waistcoats dressed to kill with their slick hair and slick mustaches. Flappers, pearls, fedoras, twotone oxford shoes and toetapping jazz paint the atmosphere of the Roaring Twenties. During this period, the economy and social culture prospered bringing with it a wave of dynamic life.
Rewind centuries past to simpler times in England where the economy and lifestyle was bleak and unstable due to religious tensions. However, during the Elizabethan Age respect was given to the arts as the reigning female monarch favored culture. Thus gave “the greatest playwright” a platform to freely create works that have endured the ages and continue to be performed.
The Brooklyn College Department of Theatre’s installment of “Much Ado About Nothing” combines both great eras. Under the direction of Vik Sivalingam, the cast of seventeen brought to life a world where Shakespeare meets Jay Gatsby. A modern and fun twist on a classic.
Love, gossip and mischief brews in the fictional New York town of Messina. As its name suggests, the play is a huge commotion and frantic brouhaha of matters that are unimportant which creates a blind eye to the matters that are in this play, that matter being ignored is love. A romantic comedy at best, “Much Ado About Nothing” has all the components for an entertaining show. A villain, a bachelor and bachelorette stuck in a game of unrequited love, a maiden wrongfully accused, an “ass” of a constable all these ingredients in the pot simmered to become a flavorful stew that the audience ate up gratefully.
Indeed, we left nothing on our plates and our appetites for culture was satiated, but we didn’t mind having another nibble or two. “Encore!” cried an audience member as the ending dance number (yes, dessert in the form of a lively jig was served after our main course) closed the play.
“I have the great fortune to work with a talented and brilliantly willing company of actors,” Sivalingam released in the playbill. “Working together throughout the play, we have found the characters to be most of all human.”
A cast mainly comprised of Brooklyn College’s own talented student actors and actresses performed with professionalism and passion. Well cast, each actor played their stage counterpart with skill. If there was a proper adjective for the execution, it is “fun”. Many a time, I smiled, laughed, clapped and wished to join the cast as they danced. The production I beheld was indeed “fun.”
Highly recommended by yours truly, consider seeing “Much Ado About Nothing”. It will be playing at various times until Saturday, the 27th. Tickets for students are discounted at $10.