Benedick and Beatrice, the prickly lovers in Much Ado About Nothing, are the most delightfully notorious in a long line of squabbling sweethearts who say they can’t bear each other but can’t bear to be without each other. Indeed, there’s a B-and-B-style romance in the musical Oklahoma! which played at Pittsfield’s Colonial Theatre earlier this summer. Now the originals are squaring off in that town, as the Barrington Stage Company mounts its first-ever Shakespeare. The classic comedy pairs BSC veterans Christopher Innvar and Gretchen Egolf as the quick-witted combatants.
If you prefer your Bard bite-size, have a taste of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (which is pictured), an irreverent fast-forward through the entire canon. In this homage à trois, three actors manically summarize, condense, parody and improvise their way through every known work of Shakespeare in under two hours. It’s playing at the Hampshire Shakespeare Company, capping their season, which included two different versions of… Much Ado About Nothing.
Much Ado: Through Aug. 25, Barrington Stage Company, 30 Union St., Pittsfield, (413) 236-8888, http://www.barringtonstageco.org.
Complete Works: Aug. 14-18, 21-25, 7 pm, Renaissance Center, 650 East Pleasant St., Amherst. http://www.hampshireshakespeare.org.