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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

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The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Theatre School, DePaul University, Barat Campus. Possibly the Bard's earliest comedy, this play about two best friends seeking love and fortune lacks the intricacies and passion of later masterpieces. Still, it delivers a digestible story and some of the first instances of Shakespeare's trademark conventions: girl in drag, wisecracking servants, even the tongue-in-your-tail repartee made famous in The Taming of the Shrew. Director Karla Koskinen and her cast seem determined to keep everything sunny; even the play's one darkish moment--when Proteus threatens to force himself on Silvia--has a "quit it, you knucklehead" tone. The supporting characters, who provide the major yuks, are particularly good, especially Luke Hamilton as Thurio, Silvia's whiny, rodentlike suitor. Brian McCartney's Costello-esque turn as the put-upon servant Launce gets extra kudos for graciously allowing a smiling, scratching dog (Marge McCartney) to upstage him. The lovely outdoor venue includes comfortable chairs and ample parking, and lavish picnic spreads are also available.

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