By Veronika Kallus
Dean Martin’s ‘Three coins in a fountain’ welcomes the audience onto a Sicilian piazza, complete with flower borders and shadowy benches. You can just imagine the dusty stones, the heat, a light breeze that brings no relief from the torching sun. Then comes the cast of young actors, bubbling out on the square like a stream of cool, sparkling water which is brim-full of energy and freshness.
A fitting start for a Shakespearian comedy that’s wonderfully alive, full of wit and intrigue and love, and a great setting for mafia-, Blues Brothers-like schemers and flowery lovers.
A perfect, simple stage set up as well that works smoothly when the square turns into a starry, romantic evening, into a vibrant ballroom, into a dark, frankincense-infused church.
The actors show talent and courage when they interrupt, enhance, interpret the classic script with slapstick and with swinging, kitschy songs. All time favourites like ‘Volare’ or ‘O sole mio’ give descriptive insights to scenes while the lovers argue and fall in and out of love. The darker scenes are also very realistic, almost too much so for the light air of the rest of the play.
Benedick, the real hero of the story, is portrayed wonderfully believably, as well as Claudio. Beatrice and Hero, their counterparts, take a bit longer to get into full swing, but partly that’s owed to their roles. As the play goes on, the audience is drawn into the wit and clumsiness of this warm comedy.
The constable and night watch at times gets a bit too much. The roles are acted in the annoying and penetrating way they are meant to be – but maybe due to the time restrictions that a Shakespeare play has to suffer in times of Fringe, the portrayal is too dense, too much with and cleverness than is possible to sink in in such short time.
Luckily, the esprit and speed of the production sways away all doubts and just leaves memorable images on one’s mind as it all ends well, with ‘That’s Amore’!