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28 October 2014
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Much Ado about plenty in a feast of a play

Much Ado About Nothing
Benedick (Nicholas le Provost) does some evesdropping in Much Ado About Nothing
The audience danced out of the theatre in Stratford following the RSC's exhillarating production of Shakespeare's brilliant comedy Much Ado About Nothing.

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Reviewed by Noisette, a local theatre goer

The Royal Shakespeare Company's new production of Much Ado About Nothing is a feast of brilliant Mediterranean colour, music and poetry.

quote start
The play moves briskly and seamlessly through twists and plots, bringing pleasure, humour and thoughtfulness at every turn.
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Noisette
Gregory Doran and a very fine team put on a vivid performance full of light, sound and laughter.

The scene is set in Messina Sicily in the 1930s and the show captures the atmosphere perfectly. From its sun-drenched "wide screen" set designed by Steven Brimson Lewis, to its swirling, hand-clapping finale, the play moves briskly and seamlessly through twists and plots, bringing pleasure, humour and thoughtfulness at every turn.

 Much Ado About Nothing
Dogberry (Christopher Benjamin) extends the long arm of the law
The spiky, reluctant but enduring relationship between Beatrice and Benedick, is beautifully balanced by the smitten, love-struck courtship of Hero and Claudio. Lines like this strike home powerfully:

"Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably."

The magic really crackles thanks to outstanding performances by Harriet Walter as Beatrice and Nicholas le Provost as Benedick.

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In all it is a splendid event which you leave feeling a little wiser but a lot happier - an unusual feat.
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Noisette
The audience watches enthralled as the characters are at first startled and then humbled by the realisation that they are indeed in love.

Gary Waldhorn's Leonato is a splendid creation, well paced and emotionally involved to a nicety, whilst Don Pedro under Clive Woods' expert handling becomes an obvious delight to be shared with the audience.

The poetry of the play, so well carried throughout, is frequently echoed by Terry John Bates' clever choreography, Paul Englishby's music and Julian Jensens' singing. They focuss the gaiety or sombreness of the moment with great effect.
The outstanding achievement of this production is the degree to which the audience is engaged. It is such an interactive experience that several times I felt myself drawn to stroll over to the café and order a bottle of the local rosso!

In all it is a splendid event which you leave feeling a little wiser but a lot happier - an unusual feat.

Our reviewers are all volunteers who receive no payment.

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