“Much Ado About Nothing” presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Oh when it’s done really well, what can be better than an evening or afternoon with Shakespeare? Seattle Shakespeare’s ” Much Ado About Nothing,” as directed by George Mount, is really, really well done. It’s a joyous romp played out on a terrific set by actors who make the language as accessible as contemporary Seattle-ese.

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The cast of Seattle Shakespeare Company’s 2013 production of “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Here the keen-tongued Beatrice (Jennifer Lee Taylor), ready always with a quip or spicy retort is a jazz-age cutie, who thoroughly enjoys sparring verbally with the equally clever Benedick. Both love verbal fencing but eschew romance. Imagine Benedick’s surprise when, through a trick, he’s told that Beatrice is hot for him. Matt Shimkus, the elegant and reserved Benedick, pulls off one of the funniest scenes in the play as he goes through untold difficulties to ascertain whether or not this is true.

As in so many of the Bard’s comedies, one romantic coupling is far from sufficient. Here Claudio (Jay Myers) is evilly deceived and turns his back on the love of his life, the virtuous Hero (Brenda Joyner) just as he’s about to marry her. Oh sadness! The maligned Hero wants to die, but of course she doesn’t.

In the midst of these romantic capers and near disasters comes one of Shakespeare’s quintessential clowns, the inept, asinine, clumsy, Dogberry, played with comic abandon by David Quicksall.

For this production, the company has joined forces with the Seattle Jazz Repertory Orchestra. It’s a good pairing made even better by the vocals of the multi-talented Justin Huertas as Balthasar.

By the end of the play, all the loose ends are beautifully tied together, and the audience has been presented with an absolutely splendid package. This is a real winner.

Through Nov. 17 at Center House Theatre in the Armory at Seattle Center, (206 733-8222 or www.seattleshakespeare.org).

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