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March 01, 1994 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-01

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 1, 1994

'Much Ado' about this
Hilberry pro duction

With the overwhelming success
of this summer's film adaptation of
"Much Ado About Nothing," it is no
surprise that community and repertory
theaters across the country are rushing
to do their own version of
Shakespeare's saucy comedy.

Much Ado About
Hilberry Theatre
February 19, 1994

Kenneth Branagh and Emma
Thompson (bow your heads in a
moment of praise for this pair) brought
"Much Ado" out of the shadows of
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" and
other more oft-produced
Shakespearean comedies and into the
eyes and hearts of the public.
Wayne State University's Hilberry
Theatre is the latest to jump on the
"Much Ado" bandwagon. And with
some old talent and new guidance (in
the form of guest director Scott
Wentworth), this production drives
that wagon with a freshness, vigor
and precision that this critic has never
seen from a university company.
Thank Stratford Festival veteran
Wentworth for assembling this
wonderful cast and for knowing what
to do with them. Many of the actors
are in their third and thus final year
with the Hilberry, so they are far from
inexperienced. Wentworth's style
shows his experience working with
professional actors; he knows when
to step in and when to sit back.
Faithful Stratford patrons will
immediately be struck by the
production's resemblance to those of
Robin Phillips, whose directorial spirit
seems to be hovering over the show.
(It has been my experience that when
Continued from page 5
sounds familiar, all of its concerns
and the very tone of the album itself is
distinctly modern, tapping into the
undercurrent of despair, confusion and

it comes to Phillips, one either loves
him or hates him. Outside of Stratford,
Phillips' work includes the critically-
acclaimed but poorly received
national tour of Andrew Lloyd
Webber's "Aspects of Love." Guess
on which side of the fence I fall.)
Ken Kelly's set is light and airy,
and very reminiscent of Phillips'
"Aspects of Love" set. Light-colored
wooden chairs and tables, flowing
white curtains and four-paneled
screens serve many purposes,
combining to create anything from a
garden to a tomb to an altar. The cast
members themselves rearrange the
scenery, usually in conjunction with
their entrances and exits - just
another nuance which makes this
production fresh.
The company members are all
superbly cast. As Benedick, the very
versatile Peter Toran gets the chance
to show his comic side, attacking the
role with as much vigor as his character
attacks a battle of wits. His comic
counterpart, the salty-tongued
Beatrice, is played with equal fervor
by Lynnae Lehfeldt. An underlying
romantic tension fuels their banter,
and provides the thrust of the play's
comic-romantic element. Toran has a
few Branagh-isms, and Lehfeldt does
a little Emma, but their portrayals are
clearly their own. Besides, can we
really fault them for emulating such
wonderful portrayals?
Rather than opting for the delicate,
weepy and whiny Hero, Jinny Pierce
plays her as lovely and innocent yet
mature and strong. Combined with
Kevin Kenerly's convincing Claudio
-he produces real tears at the thought
of Hero's death (unlike Robert Sean
Leonard's constipated looks on
screen) - the result is a sweet and
touching romance.
Rounding out the cast is Peter
Aitchison's benevolent Don Pedro
(poor thing - everyone has a partner

Led by director Scott Wentworth, Peter Toran and

in the final dance expect him),
Thorsten Kaye's Dogberry and his
charming malapropisms, and Dwight
Tolar's Balthasar with his sweet "Sigh
no more."
Wentworth makes some off-beat
directorial choices which give this
production such originality. He
recognizes that elaborate painted
backgrounds are not needed to
simulate Messina, Sicily -Benedick
eating a ripe orange (the fruit of Sicily)

scene is
tango, w
alleged p
used her
light, dan
group do
more in
back to
than beit

frustration that runs throughout the
country. Not only can Uncle Tupelo
write solid songs, they also know when
to cut loose and roar with their
instruments. "Anodyne" has a unity
of sound and artistic vision that
distinguishes it from the majority of
today's country-rock; after a few

listens, its elegant sadness becomes
positively addicting.
- Tom Erlewine
Yo La Tengo
"Painful," Yo La Tengo's most

recent of
the band'
like "M
the albun
and The]
Heavy y
the ban

} l
d Lynnae Lehfeldt lead a wonderful cast in the Hilberry's lovely production of "Much Ado About Nothing."
iofadistinction.Thereveling effective(especially during thesongs). production in some time.
played with a very sexual Wentworthalsopayssuperbattention It could be Wentworth himself,
hich later represents Hero's to the little details, such as the way a the presence of a guest director, or a
re-marital encounter. Usually candle is snuffed our or what kind of combination of the two factors - but *
e and in the final scene is a beverage a certain character enjoys. with such a talented cast, it was
ice-around-the-garden-gaily "Much Ado" marks this critic's unavoidable that the Hilberry should
ance, and the tango adds a second trip to the Hilberry (the first create much ado with this production.
timate and more physical being the recent Hedda Gabler). But MC D BU OHN
to the scenes, lonig-time Hilberry patrons were runs in repertory through April 8 at
iacharacter will have his/her delighted by Wentworth's work, the Hilberry Theatre (4743 Cass,
the audience, which rather naming this production the most well- Detroit). Tickets are $12-$ 16. CaU$
ng obtrusive is surprisingly assembled and tied-together S77-2972 for days and times.
ffering, is a departure from sounding abit like amidwestern Sonic ways, Georgia's presence is abig part
s more acoustic-based output Youth. of what makes the album, and the
ay I Sing With Me" and The band, comprised of rock band, so special: she took the cover
ok"; drenched in feedback, journalist Ira Kaplan (vocals and photo, wrote or co-wrote many of the
n owes as much to folk music guitar), his wife Georgia Hubley songs and is ahighly able drummer as
Byrds as itdoes to punk rock. (drums and vocals) andJames McNew well.
et atmospheric, this turn in (bass), cranks out aspectrum of songs The beautiful and creative
id's sound leaves them ranging from guitar-noise moments on "Painful" are ample anb
soundscapes like "Big Day Coming" well worth waiting for; while some or
and "I Heard You Looking" todroning the songs are slightly long and self-
* pop such as "Sudden Organ," rockers' indulgent, the album is one of the
I like "From a Motel 6" and beautiful most refreshing and distinctive of the
ballads, exemplified by Georgia's past year. Painful? Not in the least.
gorgeous "Nowhere Near." In many - Heather Phares
"" ---Cypress Tan
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