Double Heart (The Courtship of Beatrice and Benedick)

Theater, Drama
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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David Hansen’s 60-minute blank-verse prequel to Much Ado About Nothing imagines Beatrice and Benedick as sassy teenagers turned scared expecting parents after an intimate, Mumford & Sons–scored night together. The show’s best moments—Beatrice’s optimistic soliloquy about maternal cats, the young lovers’ sweetly careful waltz atop a bench, what may be the world’s first “Should we get an abortion?” scene in iambic pentameter—combine the painful naïveté of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant with beautiful turns of language and a touch of weirdness. But Hansen’s teaching tool of a script is heavy with tween-targeted bits—“I am but hurt,” cracks one jackanape after stabbing himself in the rear—and falls into several Shakespearean traps (unfunny fools, hard-to-pull-off swaths of narration). The production also bears the scars of months spent touring schools and nursing homes: With the exception of James Rankin's restrained Benedick, the cast oversells the comedy and underplays the drama. The play's poignancy and originality remain in a frustrating state of arrested development.—Silvija Ozols

Click here for full TONY coverage of the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival.



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