Wince you might at the idea of Much Ado About Nothing rendered as a 1930s screwball comedy set in Cuba, but the concept -- and more importantly, the Shakespeare Theatre Company's execution of it -- "hath indeed better bettered expectation." This is the Bard for a modern audience done right. It's ridiculously fun and yet utterly and completely about the language and the wit. And once you get the idea, it's inspired. Everyone here, from lead to ensemble, plays together like the workings of a well-made watch. Keeping the pace intact and, thankfully, allowing the breathtaking Derek Smith as Benedick to work his magic, director Ethan McSweeny is himself a master of timing, both comic and dramatic. Bottom line: If you don't get to this Much Ado, you should be, in the words of Benedick, hung in a bottle like a cat and shot at. Extended to Jan. 7, 2012. Sidney Harman Hall, Harman Center for the Arts, 610 F St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.
Read Kate Wingfield's full review here.
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