"Benvolio hopes to escape Verona with Rosaline (who he dated behind Romeo's back) but things get complicated what with Marcellus and Barnardo, the dagger, the ghost, the poison, the Elvis tunes..."
So went the press release for Love's Labours Won, or Benvolio is Alive and Well and Living in the Bahamas. And what could have been chaos was instead a charming, if modest, evening of youthful hijinks as Dennis Schebetta deconstructed Shakespeare with gleefully anarchic abandon. If there were perhaps a few too many esoteric references in the script, Schebetta's knowledge of his source material was abundantly clear, the way in which he used it to create a new work was clever, and as directed by Lisa Jackson, it was presented with such fast, snappy precision that it was easy to overlook the sometimes sophomoric silliness and instead revel in the many hilarious liberties taken with both the poetry and the iambic pentameter in which it was written. The production was also graced with a wonderful cast of explosively energetic young talent, who were so caught up in their own irreverent enjoyment of the piece that they infused the entire enterprise with raucous good spirits. They were, in alphabetical order, Scott Asti, Brandon Breault, Matthew Morgan, Kathryn Savannah, Erin Schmahl, Jason Vail, and Matthew A. Wilson, and they were all equally attractive, gifted, and personable.
Production values were spare, and were uncredited. But a lavish production would have been beside the point here, for the focus was, as it should have been, on the writing, directing and performing, a focus that proved once again that with a little talent, a little imagination and a little chutzpah, much can be achieved.
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Copyright 2003 Doug DeVita