Funk It Up About Nothin’, a “hip-hoptation” of William Shakespeare’s rom-com Much Ado About Nothing, opened Wednesday night to a sold-out audience at Levels Nightclub.
It was different – but a fun kind of different. The show, presented by the Penn State School of Theatre, was more of an urban dance party than a performance. The actors sang, rapped and got down to popular artists such as Beyonce and the Black Eyed Peas. Well-known PSU grad DJ Super Nova spun the show and kept audience interaction fresh by encouraging them to dance and party with the actors.
Funk It Up keeps the story line of Shakespeare’s Much Ado, but with the addition of modern-day dynamics that made the story relevant. Don Pedro becomes “Don P,” who has just come off a rap music tour. Beatrice is now “MC Lady B” and Hero is portrayed as a ditsy goof.
The rhythm of the show was fast paced and high-energy, with little time between beats, which kept the production moving. A trio of ladies danced to popular music between scene changes, which sustained the energy as well as entertained.
Elements such as harsh language and crude humor fit the college setting, but chances are it wouldn’t work elsewhere. That does not take away from the comedy of the performance, which is clever and well-timed.
Levels Nightclub was a unique choice of venue, but fit for Funk It Up. Because of the venue, the audience was forced to stand the duration of the show. With a runtime of approximately 70 minutes, this was definitely do-able.
Funk It Up plays tonight, Oct. 17 at 6:30 and Saturday, Oct. 19 at 8:30 at Levels Nightclub on College Ave.
Photo by Ashley Zucker