Advertisement
  1. Stage

Review: 'Much Ado About Nothing' is worth something

Jonathan Cho (Claudio), Roxanne Fay (Beatrice), Ned Averill-Snell (Benedick), Matt Lunsford (Don Pedro), Katrina Stevenson (Margaret), and Betty-Jane Parks (Hero).
Photo by Brian Smallheer
Published Mar. 22, 2013

TAMPA — Sometimes nothing means everything, and everything means nothing, and there's much ado about it. From the schemes and quarrels to comedic commentary on love, Jobsite Theater's production of Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing captures the vulnerabilities of human emotion and error.

Underneath multicolored lit lanterns and tree branches strung from the rafters, the cast of 10 performed to a nearly sold out show Sunday afternoon.

The play follows the tumultuous paths of two couples, young and romantic Hero and Claudio, and the middle-aged Benedick and Beatrice, and the drama that ensues when other characters conspire to divide or unite them.

Hero, the innocent virgin, with braided hair and a pastel pink gown, is to marry the baby-faced Claudio as arranged by matchmaker Don Pedro, the Prince of Aragon. Pedro pairs up with Leonato, Hero's father, and Claudio to trick Benedick, the self-proclaimed bachelor brimming with wit, into falling in love with the merry-hearted Beatrice, Hero's cousin.

Much Ado About Nothing is much a play of eavesdropping and overreacting. The folly of falling into traps and creating them serves as the backbone of the comedy, as does the spirit of the actors.

The jealous Claudio, played by Jonathan Cho, transformed from humble to mad to remorseful in just a few scenes. Roxanne Fay as Beatrice carried a well-crafted poise and shrew seniority over her arrogant counterpart Benedick. The seldom seen Don John, played by Michael C. McGreevy, exuded a menacing scowl and a disgruntled air fit for his villainous role. Spencer Meyers seamlessly vacillated between his roles as Balthasar, Dogberry and Friar Francis. But the real star of the show was Ned Averill-Snell as Benedick. Charisma emanated from his brazen stage presence, including an improvised moment when a board broke off the doorway as he entered. He clutched it as prop and threw it to the side like it was part of his monologue.

A rather basic stage, limited costumes and few props didn't matter, as the cast's skilled theatrics outshone the menial setup. They executed one of Shakespeare's most beloved works with all the frivolous fracas and tirades of jealousy, stubbornness and denial. Turns out, all the ado was worth something.

Stephanie Bolling can be reached at sbolling@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3408.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Randy Rainbow will perform at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Saturday. Courtesy of Varela Media
    Plus, St. Petersburg Opera’s ‘Merry Widow’ and more.
  2. The cast of American Stage's production of "Vietgone" includes Sami Ma as Tong and Jeff Kim as Quang. Courtesy of Joey Clay Studio
    An immigrant story with voice offers a fresh perspective.
  3. On Saturday, J.B. Smoove will perform at Ferguson Hall, part of Tampa's Straz Center. RICHARD SHOTWELL  |  Invision/AP
    The comedian known for portraying Leon Black on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ likes to wing it. He hits the Straz Center’s Ferguson Hall on Saturday.
  4. The cast performs 'On The Deck Of A Spanish Sailing Ship, 1492' in the Stage West production of 'Songs for a New World', which will be presented Oct. 17-27. Pictured at top, from left: Paris Seaver, Anthony Agnelli and Nicki Poulis. Standing in front: Jay Garcia. Timothy Rooney
    See ‘Songs for a New World’ and other shows in the north Suncoast
  5. Wayne Brady will perform at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Sunday. Courtesy of Mahaffey Theater
    There’s Jeanne Robertson and an inventive Florida Orchestra collaboration, too.
  6. Emilee Dupre and Eric Davis star in Freefall Theatre's production of "The Turn of the Screw." Courtesy of Thee Photo Ninja
    A spooky, risk-filled performance will leave you with questions. | Review
  7. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" will roll through Tampa as part of the Straz Center's 2019-20 Broadway series. JOAN MARCUS  |  Straz Center
    ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ Roy Wood Jr., ‘Vietgone’ at American Stage, Piff the Magic Dragon and more.
  8. Music director Michael Francis leads the Florida Orchestra in the Star-Spangled Banner on Friday during the season-opening program at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. JAY CRIDLIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Friday’s opening night portrayed Tampa as a melting pot, delivering diverse pieces pulled from around the world. | Concert review
  9. Bernadette Peters is pictured at Radio City Music Hall in New York in 2015. CHARLES SYKES  |  AP
    Peters follows the likes of Sting and Seal playing with the orchestra.
  10. Aldo Lopez-Gavilan, shown performing "Rhapsody in Blue" with the Florida Orchestra at St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theater in January, will join the orchestra for its 2019-20 season-opening program this weekend. J.M. LENNON  |  Lennon Media
    Plus, SuicideGirls at Tampa Theatre and comedian Bryan Callen at Tampa Improv.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement