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The Q Brothers'

Funk It Up About Nothin'

June 25

August 3, 2008

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare

a "hip-hoptation" of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing
created and directed by GQ and JQ

Critical Acclaim


“A hilarious, irreverent feast of verbal performance. The Brothers Q have focused this past decade on one main thing: the rap-ization of the Bard of Stratford Upon Avon. By now, nobody does it better. The core artistic truths survive better funked up good and fresh for the young hipsters. In many ways, Shakespeare's Beatrice and Benedick were proto-rappers. Inveterate verbal tricksters, the Qs juice the feisty pair up and find hip comedic takes on everyone else in the play. "Funk It Up" is a very enjoyable 70 minutes of ribaldry and repartee—and a subversive act of cultural appropriation. One hopes that the Q's quirky raps and rhymes might remind Aussies that there's a lot more to the Chicago soundtrack than rat-a-ta-tat. ” 


“       A state-of-the-art contemporary reinvention of Benedick and Beatrice’s wooing. Whether presenting the boasting rivalry of reluctant lovers Benedick and B or Hero’s hilarious, wounded synopsis of her unfair accusation, the piece stays consistently snappy and stylish. Funk It Up features a set of remarkable talents…carefully calibrated for maximum entertainment. If this isn’t the most intellectually stimulating adaptation of the Bard you’ll ever see, the exuberant energy and bravura wordplay on offer nonetheless make it delectably watchable.”


“"Funk" is a vibrant, brightly colored collage of urban life meshed with the wit and humor of the Bard. Written and directed by the Q Brothers (GQ and JQ), with a stellar cast, "Funk" looks and feels like a mash-up of "Sesame Street," "MTV" and "Saturday Night Live" rolled into one, slickly presented with catchy hip-hop beats, punchy dialogue and a flashy, entertaining take on Shakespeare's classic, "Much Ado About Nothing." The cast leaves you impressed, with an over-the-top show presented with outstanding professionalism and moves, grooves and quips.”


Funk It Up is electric, an hour-long onslaught that combines the best parts of a grooving concert, a rip-roaring good story and a night bopping at the clubs. And the dj who provides the electronic foundation of all the cunning linguistic gymnastics, brings the noise and the funk, ensuring that the beat goes on throughout the merry war of words. We urge you to run, not walk, to get a ticket to this raptastic take on Shakespeare's equally brilliant comedy.”


“A shocking new twist that really works. Funk It Up About Nothin' is perfect for a teen who isn't sure if he likes Shakespeare and also for his grandmother, who isn't sure if she likes rap. For the first time, I could picture how popular Shakespeare must have been 400 years ago. He wrote for the people, and Chicago natives "The Q Brothers: GQ and JQ"—are doing the same for a new generation.”


“This is what theater is all about—a diversion from our everyday lives. The Q Brothers who take on this slick and solid production are masters at what they do. The energy of this glorious and very talented troupe is amazing. Just get out of the house and spend a little time at Navy Pier laughing your posterior off. I know I did and so will you!”


“Cheeky, clever, and funny. First timers will be blown away by one of the real hoots in recent Chicagoland theater history. Even spectators unfamiliar with the Bard's comedy should be swept away by the velocity of the production and genius of the dense and dazzling flow of rhymes that pour from the stage. The Q Brothers have made the play their own, and their skill at sustaining the play's momentum for a full 70 minutes is breathtaking.”


      I defy you, whatever your age or rhythmic persuasion, to go to this 'ad-rap-tation' of Much Ado About Nothing and come out without a gigantic grin on your face. This show from Chicago glides and pops its way onto the stage with a self-confidence that would be brazen if it weren't 100 per cent justified. The rhymes—and the energy—just don't stop in this hip-hop tribute.

The choice of Much Ado is inspired. This particular comedy has so much fronting, face-saving, and such exuberant verbals that translating it into a battle of the MCs remains true its spirit and emotional rhythm. There's plenty more to praise...but it's better to just go and see Funk It Up About Nothin'. They'll tell you how it is better than I will.”


“Dope, fly, sweet, wild—even the most extensive rapper's vocabulary would lack the superlatives to sufficiently describe the sheer ball-busting kick-assitude of this magnificent production. I have never given a standing ovation so willingly. Whoever you are, whatever you're into, I challenge you not to love this production. I will personally refund your ticket if you don't!”


“It really takes something to get a critic fifty shows into Edinburgh [Festival Fringe] to leave a show with a smile on his/her face. That's exactly what this rap and hip-hop version of Much Ado About Nothing achieved. Try this cool new version out. You too will smile.”


“Must see! Shakespeare's words filtered through hip-hop and rap with equally delightful results. The rhymes are funny, the characterisations are funny, and the whole thing is remarkably true to the spirit of the original.”


“Irresistibly irreverent... crisp storytelling, wit and endearing performances!”

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