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The marriage industry in this country is a hydra, ever-reproducing and growing. Is it more or less reassuring to know that it's been this way since the 1600s? In William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, a marriage is manufactured because a group of friends can't wait for a previously arranged marriage to take place at the end of the week. Claudia and Hero are the happy couple gettin' hitched, and it is their mutual friends who decide that Benedick and Beatrice should also tie the knot. The fact that both of them hate the institution of marriage only makes the game sweeter for the players, while their unbridled egotism is what makes their downfall entertaining for the audience. The B-plot involves a relentless, if slightly dim, officer of the law -- Dogberry by name -- attempting to crack the case of the malcontents who attempt to ruin all these marriages before they take place. St. Louis Shakespeare continues its 30th season victory lap of the Shakespearean cycle with Much Ado About Nothing. Performances take place at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (October 17 through 25), 2 p.m. Sunday, October 19, and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 23, at the Florissant Civic Center Theatre (1 James E. Eagan Drive, Florissant; 314-361-5664 or www.stlshakespeare.org). Tickets are $15 to $20.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 19, 2 p.m.; Thu., Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Oct. 17. Continues through Oct. 25, 2014

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