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Theatre Review: Much Ado About Nothing @ Shakespeare’s Globe

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Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is placed in a unique setting in this bright and entertaining production, directed by Matthew Dunster.

This comedy follows the characters of Beatrice and Benedick, who are both a bit too stubborn to admit their love for each other, but are tricked into it by the meddling of the other characters. The role of deception and meddling within relationships is a driving force within the play and this is conveyed wonderfully in the current production at the Globe.

The story is given a setting quite unusual for Shakespeare adaptations: Mexico in 1914, right in the middle of the Mexican Revolution. Despite the lack of any apparent reasoning for this choice of setting, Much Ado fits perfectly. It makes way for bright costumes and vibrant dance numbers that emphasize the entertaining and fun elements of Shakespeare’s comedies.

The set design is beautiful and helps to set the scene. It is highly utilized by the actors and contributes to the plot, without being too ostentatious or distracting.

Beatrice, played by Beatriz Romilly, and Benedick, played by Matthew Needham, have fantastic chemistry. The tension and build up to their eventual courtship is exciting and executed effectively.

Needham is especially notable in his role as Benedick. In the scene where Benedick is meant to overhear Claudio and Leonato discussing Beatrice’s love for him—in the scheme to get the two to confess their mutual love—Benedick is placed upstage in the train’s window, for his reactions to the conversation to be on display. And it is Benedick that draws all of the attention here, despite not being at the forefront of the action, on stage, or saying any of the dialogue. Subsequently, his following soliloquy, after he has learned of Beatrice’s love, is charming and captivating and easily one of the most memorable scenes of the production.

Overall, this production was highly entertaining and charming. It didn’t have the wow factor that the greatest and most memorable Shakespeare adaptations have, but it was lovely and fun and left the audience content.

For more information or to purchase tickets, you can visit the Globe’s website here




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