At some point in nearly all of our lives, we have studied a Shakespeare play and Much Ado About Nothing was one I studied for GCSE English and I was very excited to come and see the play at Manchester Opera House last night.
The story starts as soldiers come back from war and Benedick and Claudio are reacquainted with Beatrice and Hero and it is the tale of how the two win their brides with comedic twists, turns and the occasional mistaken identity. Much Ado is definitely one of my favourite Shakespeare comedies and this production was by far my favourite production I’ve seen.
The role of Beatrice played with the fight of a feminist by Lisa Dillon brings to the fore Shakespeare’s skill and love of creating strong women. Creating this production in the time female emancipation is perfect for getting across the feminist thread throughout this play –
Dillon’s characterisation of this part, takes it into the 21st century – with a marriage of equals the ultimate aim of both male and female. Paired with Benedick, played by Edward Bennett, the two characters play off each other well and most definitely left the audience laughing. There was something ever do modern about their rapport and relationship and I think that the audience really connected with the two characters.
One of the elements of the production I really enjoyed was the use of music throughout the play which added an extra dimension and emphasised moments of hilarity and the more sombre moments and left the audience humming a long as they left the theatre.
I don’t think I have ever been to see Shakespeare where the audience has been so engaged with the performance and it was a really refreshing take on a classic piece of theatre. The use of music and the ease at which the actors used the language at the time made it really accessible.
You can catch Much Ado About Nothing at Manchester Opera House until 3rd December 2016
Parts of this review were first published in my review for North West End