There was “Much Ado” at the band shell at Deering Oaks on Thursday night as the Fenix Theatre Company kicked off its 2016 season of Shakespeare in the park, with a spirited performance that offers the bard’s witty dialogue along with singing (a little) and dancing (a lot) to an ’80s soundtrack.

The cast of “Much Ado About Nothing” is a who’s-who of local actors, who appeared to be having a great time with this slightly over-the-top take on the comedy classic, directed by Abigail Killeen.

The play revolves around two shaky romances, one nearly undone by treachery among not-so-noble relatives and the other suffering from the prickly personalities of the individuals involved.

Sally Wood takes the plum role of Beatrice, described as a “harpy” whose “every word stabs.” Known for her expertise in staging scenes of combat, Wood lets her character’s “shrewd” tongue do most of the fighting here as she engages in a withering battle of wits with Benedick, with whom she has a past but little hope of a future.

The actress excelled in projecting Beatrice’s strength and her underlying ambivalence. Her semi-improvised foray into the crowd was a highlight as she borrowed a chair and appropriated snacks, all the while responding to what was being said on stage. Her “O God that I were a man” speech was bracing and powerful in a play that occasionally jarred as it moved through more serious passages.

As Benedick, Rob Cameron revealed a truly comic sense of timing and delivery that drew some of the broadest laughs of the evening. His Benedick was not sure if his eventual binding with Beatrice would lead to his undoing but appeared, like Wood’s Beatrice, to be delighting in their continued verbal sparring.

Casey Turner, as the “belied” maiden Hero, kept her character as light as a feather until false accusations threatened her marriage to the misguided Claudio (Chris Davis), at which point fire showed through.

Peter Brown made the most of the officious Dogberry, whose comical pursuit of truth saves the day for the supposedly superior aristocrats. Karen Ball also stood out as the conniving Borachio.

Lively dance sequences, with performers perched on cube-shaped pedestals, compete with strong lead and ensemble work to be most remembered from this amusing production in the park.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.