As we proceeded down the steep stairs, the stage was this stunning set of a hacienda, complete with a fountain in the middle. There were 3 different stairways, including a beautiful blue spiral staircase towards the front on stage left. The set was very multi-functional as demonstrated through the rest of the play, without being distracting or obvious when scenes changed.
The play seemed to get off to a slow start. The actors didn't quite have their energy in the right place for about the first 15 minutes, but after that .... things flowed rather smoothly. There were only 2 instances during the show where it was obvious that someone had missed their cue, but they recovered rather quickly. The costuming was stunning and completely appropriate for the period. They also adjusted some of the Bard's famous words to adjust to the setting of this particular production, which was clever. Amusingly enough though, they did not change the names of the towns .... and so when they would talk about "Messina" it bothered lapsedagnostic as being clearly out of place. It didn't really bother me. The actors seemed well suited to their roles. I only really had an issue with the actor who potrayed the Prince, Don Pedro. He didn't seem to articulate particularly well. I was lukewarm on Benedict and Beatrice at first, but warmed up to them quickly. They both had a good sense of comic timing, which is important during certain moments.
Also ... as a complete aside of the production .... pre-ordering a snack and drink for intermission is totally the way to go. We picked up our food and avoided the really long line that formed during the short intermission!
All of us really enjoyed it, including the kids. S (10) and M (11) had some issues with Elizabethan english, but were still able to follow the play and enjoy the story. T (14), princesswidgeon, lapsedagnostic and myself enjoyed it quite a bit. I would certainly give this a 2 thumbs up, and recommend it to our friends :) This is one of my favorites of Shakespeare's plays and I'm a huge fan of the Kenneth Branagh movie version. I'm really looking forward to Joss Whedon's upcoming version as well. Quasi and I also received a discount coupon for their upcoming production of "Two Gentleman of Verona" coming up in January. Anyone interested in making it group expedition?