Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Double Heart, Great Lakes Theatre Touring Production

(Annie Hickey as Virginia and David Hansen as the clown)

If you’re looking for a thoroughly entertaining theater experience and want to spend, say, zero dollars, here’s your answer. Go see Double Heart at one of the remaining neighborhood venues where this delightful touring production is playing.

This “Surround Program” is intended as area-wide outreach, providing a prequel to the Great Lakes production of Much Ado About Nothing, opening at the Hanna Theatre on March 29. And while it may not have the subtlety of Shakespeare, this original one-hour play written by local playwright and actor David Hansen is a complete joy—featuring the MAAN kids Beatrice and Benedick along with assorted other characters.

Hansen has written the whole play in verse that nicely echoes Will’s stanzas, but there are modern colloquialisms and current references thrown in here and there to help include everyone in the audience. And there are enough references both sexual and scatological to keep everyone attentive.

Directed at a brisk pace and with imagination by Lisa Ortenzi, the play clips right along as Emily Pucell and James Rankin fence slyly with each other and show how the two above-mentioned lovebirds came to know each other, and love each other, and then fall out of love. You know, the whole Shakespearian thing.

They are ably supported by Annie Hickey who plays Beatrice’s pal Virginia and Hansen, who switches wigs, hats and other garments to portray everything from royalty to clowns.

Happily, you don’t have to know a thing about Much Ado to get a major buzz from Double Heart. The language is funny and at times quite elegant and wise about issues of the heart. In short, you won’t find a better free show anytime soon. Indeed, this may be even better than some of the ones you pay for.

Double Heart
Through March 6 at various locations. See the schedule at:

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