Review: The Lawyer Show 2012 – Much Ado About Nothing (Nightwood)

Nightwood Theatre presents a hilarious version of Much Ado About Nothing set in the 1960s.

This year’s Lawyer Show (Nightwood Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing, performed at the Berkeley Street Theatre was a stunning performance.

What impresses me over and over again about the Lawyer Show is their ability to take something done as many times as Shakespeare and completely re-invent it. They stick to the original dialogue, of course, but it’s all in the details. 

For example in last year’s As You Like It, they transformed a fight scene into a video game battle, and reworked catchy numbers like “we will rock you” into their own version: He Hath Killed a Deer. The execution is creative, fresh and always entertaining.

The theme of the 2012 Lawyer Show was the 1960s, complete with fun poppy music, hallucinogenic drugs, and brightly coloured costumes brought our spirits up on an otherwise rainy day. You’ll hear a lot of oldie favourites both sung and played in the background. The only things that were muted were the brown benches that dominated the set – but these too were used with a great deal of versatility.

Although Beatrice (Shannon Seitz) and Benedick (Gavin Magrath) stole the show with their banter, I really enjoyed some of the secondary and tertiary characters, such as one simply known as “boy” (played by Sheetal Rawal) who stumbles across the stage with the type of bewildered look that can only come from illicit substances. Another highlight was the motley crew gang of watchmen led by an over-talkative constable who can’t seem to get to the point.

My favourite part was the singing and dancing. The numbers are all familiar, but more importantly the cast seemed to have a lot fun, which always makes the audience’s experience much more enjoyable as well.

The truly amazing thing about this show is that although none of the cast members are actors, is no amateur production. Although Shakespeare can be kind of a mouthful and there is a tendency to go through the motions, the cast embodied the dialogue. In addition, it was professionally executed, well choreographed, and really sought to entertain.

My show partner also very much enjoyed the show. “When you think about how corny jokes from the 80s sound today, the fact that the Lawyer Show can take something that’s centuries old, put it in a modern context and make it hilarious,” he said.”It really shows the talent of the cast and crew.”

My only complaint about this show is that it did not run for longer. Three days is not enough time! I want everyone to see this show!

If you didn’t make it this year, I would highly recommend you see it next year. It’s become one of my favourite events. In addition I am very interested in learning more about Nightwood Theatre and what else they do.

Details

The Lawyer Show played at Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street) until June 9, 2012
– Shows run Thursday to Sunday at 8pm, with an additional matinee on Saturday at 2pm
– Tickets are $55, including partial tax receipt
– Tickets are available online, or through the box office at 416-555-1231