These Paper Bullets
By Rosalind Friedman
There are so many good things to say about the new production at Yale, I do not know where to start. Although I don't know what the title, These Paper Bullets!, means, I can tell you this musical subtitled “A Modish Ripoff of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing,” adapted with humor and love by Rolin Jones,with great Songs by Billie Joe Armstrong, front-man for the band Green Day, directed wildly by Jackson Gay, is fresh, funny and entertaining. A Queen of the Realm with tiara depicted by Christopher Geary, a fabulous fight among silly detectives with rolls of toilet paper steered by Michael Rossmy, and a chance to sing Irish ditties along with Stephen De Rosa, make this a night to remember. And famed playwright Athol Fugard was sitting in front of me!
This modish ripoff of “Much Ado” is set in the rollicking 1960's, where a band called The Quartos, who remind us of the Beatles and/or The Monkeys, are attracting great fans, most of them young women. And so they should. They are all good musicians and very cute with lots of hair. Ben, the handsome David Wilson Barnes, who is supposed to be Benedick, has stated that he will never marry. His counterpart, Bea , short for Beatrice, is a fashion designer, head of The Beau Monde; she is sharp-tongued and independent. Now Bea is played by the fantastic Jeanine Serralles, who won our Ct Critics award for her role as the maid in Tartuffe at the Westport Country Playhouse. She really stole that show, and she darn near stole this one, too. Cute and sassy, but capable of expressing deep emotion, Serralles captures Bea's persona perfectly.
The Quartos are staying at the Messina Hotel; Higgy, really Hero, the cute blond Ariana Venturi, is in love with Claude (Bryan Fenkart), one of the Quartos, and they plan to marry. Don Best, the very tall Adam O'Byrne, in a spit of revenge because he was kicked out as their drummer, has photographs doctored to show Iggy as a bad girl! The wedding is called off under the canopy-and all is lost. But you know everything turns out all right. It is just Much Ado About Nothing! or Three Paper Bullets!
Almost three hours flew by due to the ever-pulsing cast. Through April 5.
(This review originally aired on WMNR Fine Arts radio.)