Don’t even try to analyze why anyone does anything in Shakespeare’s scattershot comedy Love’s Labor’s Lost. Just sit back (warning you, it’s a lengthy sit), enjoy the summer night air in the Old Globe’s Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, and revel in the silliness. At times, such as the beginning of Act 2 when the four young male suitors are disguised as Muscovites, the better to deceive their ladies (of course they aren’t deceived), Love’s Labor’s Lost smacks of full-blown Monty Python. Shakespeare came first, but you wouldn’t know it.
Director Kathleen Marshall won a Tony in 2011 for choreographing Anything Goes, and anything sure as hell goes in Love’s Labor’s Lost, in which broadly comic supporting characters played by Greg Hildreth, Triney Sandoval, Kevin Cahoon and Stephen Spinella absolutely upstage the four pairs of lovers. This play thrives on unabashed physical comedy, on puns and other playful moments with language, and on Shakespeare’s usual hapless misunderstandings. It’s all beautifully costumed (by Michael Krass) and brought to jovial life on a bucolic set (by John Lee Beatty) that’s to swoon for.
Love’s Labor’s Lost runs through Sept. 18 at the Old Globe’s Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. $29 and up; oldglobe.org
Louder Shakespeare can be heard at Diversionary Theatre’s 49-seat Black Box space, home of the ordinarily bold InnerMissions Productions. There’s nothing very bold about this staging of The Taming of the Shrew, The Bard’s exercise in unapologetic misogyny, other than somehow accommodating up to 13 actors on the little set at one time. Steve Froelich out-yells even the yelling he did in Moxie Theatre’s Orange Julius last year, playing fortune-hunting Petruchio like a more erudite Stanley Kowalski. Kym Pappas’ Kate, meanwhile, is mostly exasperated, though she does get in some yelling of her own. Some among the baker’s dozen ensemble of actors seem more comfortable with the rhythm and intricacies of Shakespeare than do others. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Chauvinistic though each may be, Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate is a better show than The Taming of the Shrew.
The Taming of the Shrew runs through Aug. 27 at Diversionary Theatre’s Black Box space in University Heights. $20. innermissionproductions.org
Best Laid Plans: A new murder-mystery dinner theatre show set in old Hollywood complete with food and drinks. Presented by The Murder Mystery Co., it happens The Old Spaghetti Factory in Downtown. murdermysterydinnersandiego.com
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: The musical production based on the movie about a grumpy hairball and the belle who loves him. Presented by Patio Playhouse, it runs through Aug. 27 at the Kit Carson Park Amphitheatre in Escondido. patioplayhouse.com
Avenue Q: A musical comedy about a recent college grad who moves to NYC and is surrounded by foul-mouthed puppets. Presented by the OB Theatre Company, it runs through Aug. 28 at the OB Playhouse in Ocean Beach. obtheatrecompany.com