Much ado about swing dancing
The Sacramento Shakespeare Festival’s take on the evergreen comedy Much Ado About Nothing—deftly directed by David Harris—locates the story in America circa 1946, as the boys are returning from World War II. The show’s festooned with swing dancing and big-band tunes (choreographed with a Busby Berkeley feel by Angela-Dee Alforque). In the battle of the sexes, we get an African-American Beatrice (Dominique Jones), which resonates with the character’s no-guff stance. Nick Gailbreath (Benedick) is best when he’s convinced that Beatrice loves him. Matt Canty and Jenna Cedusky do well as Claudio and Hero, the secondary couple. Harris deploys “water effects” onstage, earning laughs. The cast sorta overplays the hand gestures (the outdoor sound system is muddy). But overall, it’s an upbeat, quite likeable community production of this summer standard.
Much Ado About Nothing plays July 12, 17, 19, 24, 30 and August 1 in the William A. Carroll Amphitheatre in William Land Park. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $15-$18. (916) 558-2173; www.sacramentoshakespeare.net.