Truly Polite (left) and Taylor Santos
David Bazemore

“The world must be peopled,” says Benedick (Zachary Macias), the comic protagonist of Much Ado About Nothing, which is currently playing at UCSB in a brilliant and zany Naked Shakes production directed by Irwin Appel and starring many of the top students in the school’s BFA acting program. Benedick is talking to himself at the time and seeking to justify his desire for the lovely Beatrice (Maddie Martin), something that does not, strictly speaking, require any justification but which does reflect, in part, the kind of global perspective that the play’s author, William Shakespeare, achieves in relation to the abundance of compromises, misadventures, and embarrassments that characterize human courtship in this, the most contemporary and perhaps the funniest of the Bard’s comedies. Thanks to outstanding performances by the central couple and a host of expert turns by this splendidly able cast, the capacity audience of mostly UCSB students loved the high jinks as the lovers dart in and out from behind the Studio Theater’s circular curtain, listening for and overhearing the rumors and lies that will eventually enmesh them in a romance neither can muster the wit to deny. Don’t miss the chance to laugh out loud at this perennially fresh story of love’s triumph over pretention and ego when Naked Shakes brings it back at the end of September.


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