DIRECTOR TIMOTHY DOUGLAS gives Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” an update in the Folger Theatre‘s current production — it’s set in modern-day D.C. and is inspired by the city’s annual Caribbean Carnival.

“Much Ado About Nothing” is about two couples — Claudio (Alexis Camins) and Hero (Roxi Victorian), who are about to be married, and Beatrice (Rachel Leslie) and Benedick (Howard W. Overshown) won’t admit they love each other. Claudio and Hero try to trick their friends into admitting their feelings, and they conspire with Don Pedro (Tony Nam), a prince, to get them together. As if that’s not complicated enough, the prince’s brother Don John (Joel David Santner) is jealous of Claudio’s favor with the prince and decides to undermine the wedding.

The plot stays the same in Douglas’ production, though Claudio and Benedick are recast from soldiers to D.C. police officers, and Borachio, a henchman of Don John’s, is recast as a woman. Douglas sets the play in D.C.’s H Street corridor, and the brightly colored costumes, feathered headdresses and Caribbean-flavored soundtrack — Craig Wallace plays a DJ who sits onstage during the production — give the play a sense of fun. It’s also funny, as Beatrice and Benedick wage war with witty insults.

On Nov. 12 there will be a post-show talk with the cast after the 7:30 p.m. performance.

» Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE, through Nov. 29, $30-$60; 202-544-7077, (Capitol South)

Written by Express contributor Amy Cavanaugh
Photo by Carol Pratt