You’ve probably seen Shakespeare reinterpreted a hundred ways: transported settings (modern day Berlin), interpretive costumes (Macbeth in Armani), but Claudio as a rap star?much
“Funk It Up About Nothin’ ” is definitely a new twist on “Much Ado About Nothing.”
Playing in the intimate upstairs theater at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater through Feb. 13, this hip-hop interpretation is perfect for a teen who isn’t sure if he likes Shakespeare and also for his grandmother, who isn’t sure if she likes rap. The fast-paced evening sticks to the original story—with plots of lovers and wooing and mistaken identities—but takes great liberty with the language.
Shocking! We know. Shakespeare is revered for his language, but really, this works. Every line is rapped (complete with an onstage DJ) and it makes it a completely new play. For the first time, I could picture how popular Shakespeare must have been 400 years ago. He wrote for the people, and Chicago natives “The Q Brothers: GQ and JQ”—are doing the same for a new generation.
I brought my 17-year-old sons to the show and they loved it. Enough that they were curious about the original. I didn’t bring my 12-year-old, and that was probably a good decision. The Bard is bawdy and in this show the language and sexual posturing are rap worthy.
Drinks are allowed in the theater for the 65-minute, no-intermission play—just adding to the party atmosphere.
Making an evening of it shouldn’t be hard, given the theater’s location at Navy Pier—but just know, you’re going to feel like a tourist. If you’re taking teens to this show, my girlfriend had the brilliant idea of stopping at Five Guys on the way down or calling in an order to Wow Bao at Water Tower.
For tickets, call 312-595-5600 or visit the theater’s website.