Valentino Valentina

Iris Gilad and Neto De Paula Pimenta in Valentino Valentina.

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night gets a modern twist in Valentina Valentino, playing at the Macha Theatre. It is a story of mistaken identity, gender confusion and passionate attraction set in the rather appropriate city of Los Angeles. It is a timeless tale of how love eventually conquers all and how our masks are eventually betrayed by the authentic self. The production featured song and dance, action and the redeeming power of love.

Valentino (Michael Onofri) and Valentina (Iris Gilad) are identical twins that are separated by a horrific car crash. Thinking her brother dead, Valentina sets off to find work disguised as her brother. She succeeds with the ruse, but becomes entangled with the charismatic Ernesto (Neto de Paula Pimenta) who pines for the beautiful Olivia (Stephanie Sanchez) as she falls fervently for Valentina. It is an oft-told yarn, yet writer Carlo Allen gives it a brazen freshness and under the tender direction of Odalys Nanin, this production shines.

The acting is inspired; the cast relays the particulars of their roles very well. Micah Beals as Faustino and Veronica Alicino as Maria are quite engaging. As with many Shakespeare’s comedies, the fates conspire to derail happiness, but love has a way of finding its intended target. This is a production that may be enjoyed by the entire family. A message that love is not about gender would make the bard proud. Recommended. The show runs through October 17 at the Macha Theatre, 1107 N. Kings Rd. in West Hollywood. For more information call (323) 960-7712 or visit www.Plays411.com/valentino.

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