There is high quality theatre happening in this city.
Louisville has a deep and rich arts community, with dozens of local companies producing solidly good productions.
And most of the city is missing them.
No, they don’t all have the glamour of the PNC Broadway in Louisville series, nor the budget of Actors Theatre, nor the stalwart season-ticket holder base of Derby Dinner Playhouse.
But one could argue that what they lack in budget and fan base, they make up for in passion, commitment and heart.
Such is the case with Looking for Lilith, and their 11th season opener of Shakespeare’s comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.
This talented group of women and men transformed the Alley Theater not with their flashy sets and eye-popping costumes, but with their much more important high-power acting.
It’s a shame then, that they left their hearts on the stage for less than a handful of audience members.
But though they be but little, they are fierce.
LFL’s production was delightful.
Shakespeare is tough to tackle; and actors can sometimes get lost in the rhythm of his words without finding understanding in their meaning—driving an often unfamiliar audience to puzzlement--but this is not the case with the cast of Much Ado.
The experienced group, ranging from members of Actor’s Equity to graduates of top-notch theatre programs, skillfully led the audience through the story with clear and precise choices.
Leading the pack of this all-female cast (a creative choice which seemed natural and not awkward in the least) were the powerful Natalie Fields (Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon), Shannon Woolley Allison (Beatrice) and Karole Spangler as Benedick.
Laura Ellis as the bumbling constable Dogberry was a hoot, and Dawn Schultz (Claudio) was as interesting to watch when she wasn’t speaking as when she was.
Several scenes, including one in which Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio trick Benedick had the attentive crowd laughing out loud.
The production wasn’t perfect; the tableaus presented prior to each scene were time consuming and difficult to interpret (sometimes due to a placard that was blocked from view by the actors themselves), and there were a few minor line flubs, but neither of these was enough to detract from an entertaining show.
LFL’s Much Ado About Nothing deserves much ado.
Supporting quality theatre in Louisville is the only way it will continue to thrive. If you haven’t yet ventured beyond the Kentucky Center or the Victor Jory, this production is a good place to start.
Looking for Lilith’s production of Much Ado About Nothing continues Saturday, October 6 at 7:30pm through October 13. All shows are held at the Alley Theater’s performance space at 1205 Washington Street. Tickets are $18 for adults; $15 for students and seniors. They may be purchased at the door or online at the Alley Theater.
Image: Courtesy LFL