Party with Will, Wayne, and Nothing Special Productions | Bleader

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Party with Will, Wayne, and Nothing Special Productions

Posted By on 04.02.14 at 09:15 AM

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The #TMAAPP Band serenade ensemble members at The Masque.
  • Courtesy Nothing Special Productions
  • The #TMAAPP Band serenades ensemble members.
For all his poetry, Shakespeare was always one for a good penis joke. Nothing Special Productions nails the Bard's bawdy sense of fun with its adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, taking us on a wild ride where Benedick totes a mini Patrón bottle and hungover party guests slug down Dunkin' Donuts coffee. There are so many F-bombs in the first act you start to lose count.

If all this sounds like a rude blast of fresh air, it's because it is. Director Mikey Laird spent two years on this adaptation, and for the most part succeeds in using modern language that preserves the text's original meaning, as when Benedick (played with biker-boy charm by Mike Schiff) jeers of the villainous Don John that "None but skanks and scumbags delight in him."

Shawn Quinlan's eclectic costume designs hit their mark, with characters lounging at ease in loafers and making out under tables sporting black glitter leggings. As Don John's henchman, Borachia, Celeste Burns seems to have come out of the womb speaking Shakespearean English, and Sarah Shirkey's Verges is so subtle we watch her reactions almost more than we watch the bumbling Dogberry.

Audience members get launched into the action, encouraged to dance onstage, heckle the actors, and post Instagram photos of the show in real time, and in the grand off-Loop tradition, there's sex, booze, and a live band. So party on, Wayne.

The Most Ado: A Party Play Through 4/13: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM, Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee, 773-398-7028, nothingspecialproductions.com, $18, $15 in advance.

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