The only thing more charming than Two Gentlemen of Verona in the park is Two Gentlemen of Verona in the park with a puppy | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

The only thing more charming than Two Gentlemen of Verona in the park is Two Gentlemen of Verona in the park with a puppy 

The servants steal the show in Midsomer Flight's production.

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What is lovelier than Shakespeare in the park on a day in midsummer? What could be more meet for an afternoon of leisure than a comedy briefer than As You Like It, simpler than Twelfth Night, that gives you song and women for your wine and speaks as much of friendship as of love? Plus you get a puppy for your pains. Midsommer Flight delivers an interlude of fun with its production of Two Gentlemen of Verona, which follows the mishaps of young Valentine and Proteus as they stumble along the rocky course between Verona, Milan, and Mantua in pursuit of position and passion. Along the way, they encounter incompetent villains, squabble with their servants, and write humiliatingly bad letters, all for the love of Julia and Silvia.

More amusing than their masters are the maids and serving men: Richard Eisloeffel as Valentine's snarky servant, Speed; Stephanie Mattos as Proteus's hilarious help, Launce; and Shanna Sweeney as Julia's mordant minion, Lucetta. Accompanied by an adorable sidekick (canines from the Masonic Association of Service and Therapy Dogs and New Leash on Life taking turns in the role of Crab), Mattos in particular charms while delivering Launce's elliptical discourse on the disappointments of love, especially a dog's failure to weep at the pains of his master. An afternoon in the park is nice—a play in the park that includes attempted rape, banishment, disloyal friends, fickle lovers, bad fathers, robbery, and deceit and yet ends well is nicer.   v

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