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It is ‘Much Ado’ situations 2 at Bay Place parks

William Shakespeare’s plays feel to arrive in waves. One summer season there could be 4 or five productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” nearby, and an additional 12 months there may perhaps be a surfeit of “Macbeth’s.” This summer’s collection of alternative is “Much Ado About Nothing.”

San Francisco Shakespeare Pageant marks the 40th anniversary of its Totally free Shakespeare in the Park exhibits (and the conclude of Rebecca J. Ennals’ 10-yr tenure as creative director) with its fourth manufacturing of “Much Ado,” now enjoying in Cupertino before relocating on to Redwood City and San Francisco.

Meanwhile, Vallejo Shakespeare in the Park is undertaking the very same play in Vallejo, Benicia, Martinez, Oakland and Crockett. And the fledgling Berkeley Shakespeare Organization also done “Much Ado” before this summer time in Kensington and San Rafael.

The play’s best identified for the sharp-tongued, verbally sparring Beatrice and Benedick, who mock just about every other and swear to continue being single, so they are of course doomed to drop in love with every other. It also characteristics a a lot more disturbing thread in which the villainous Don John methods jealous young Claudio into believing fiancée Hero is cheating on him. The way Claudio humiliates Hero as a end result is unforgivable but (this currently being a Shakespearean intimate comedy) all too conveniently forgiven.

The SF Shakespeare production has a 1990s aesthetic in Marina Polakoff’s playful costumes and in Richard Jennings’ songs. Steven Flores as Borachio, henchman and garage bandmate to Alan Coyne’s brooding Don John, performs an entertaining grunge model of “Sigh No More.” (In Vallejo’s generation the same tune is a rap.) Instead of returning from warfare, Benedick, Claudio and chief Don Pedro (Maryssa Wanlass with hipster facial hair) have just occur again from a protest lugging placards.

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Directed by Shannon R. Davis, it is a drastically pared-down model of Shakespeare’s comedy, only 95 minutes with out intermission. A great deal of the tomfoolery of boring-witted, malapropism-spouting constable Dogberry (chirpy Larissa Kelloway) is trimmed absent. It’s a brisk but also strangely limp production in which fairly handful of of the performances come to feel authentically section of the motion.

Ben Chau-Chiu’s callow Claudio and Veda Baldota’s amiable Hero perform as pretty younger and there’s zero chemistry involving them, earning his cruelty come to feel more childish than devastating.

Standouts amid the cast as they ought to be, Livia Gomes Demarchi is a risky, snarky Beatrice in mall punk finery, and David Everett Moore is an amusingly fumbling and jovial Benedick.

The comparatively unexpurgated Vallejo Shakes production is practically 2 times as lengthy, about a few hrs with intermission. It’s also finished “Ren style” (as in Renaissance): actors have been only specified their have lines and cues as a substitute of the entire script and restricted time to rehearse, and a prompter feeds them lines as necessary. That comes about a lot, which will make line fumbling just component of the knowledge but also slows everything down.

Directed by firm founder Dalia Vidor, the show features a lively central couple in Ofeibia Laud-Darku and Benjamin Garcia as Beatrice and Benedick. Beatrice in distinct is normally clearly putting on a efficiency for those people about her.

The performances fluctuate greatly, but the output characteristics lots of amusing tomfoolery with the sharp-tongued unwilling lovers and with Nez Gray’s bumbling Dogberry. Tia Rose Beem’s scowling Dona Johnna turns entertainingly earnest even though bamboozling Maldon Longren’s sleepwalking Claudio.

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If neither creation entirely realizes the comedy to its most effective edge, each provide as welcome and quickly available reminders of some of the finest features of a problematic perform.

Call Sam Hurwitt at, and abide by him at


San Francisco Shakespeare Festival: As a result of Aug. 7 at Memorial Park Amphitheater, Cupertino Aug. 13-28 at Crimson Morton Park, Redwood City Sep. 3-11 at Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, McLaren Park, San Francisco One hour and 35 minutes, no intermission free

Vallejo Shakespeare in the Park: Aug. 6 at Marina Pavilion, Benicia Aug. 7 at Susana Park, Martinez Aug. 13 at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, Oakland Aug. 14 at Rithet Park, Crockett Aug. 19-20 at Vino Godfather Winery, Vallejo Two several hours and 55 minutes, a single intermission free ($25 closing weekend)

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