Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, revisited by director Dom Rawson, assisted by Tom Howard and produced by Gusta Matthews, is an important challenge to our contemporary vision of Shakespeare. Successfully, the play held by King’s Shakespeare Company presents the comedy in our contemporary scene ultimately leading the audience to once again be startled by Shakespeare’s relevance to our world today.
With tunes of Eurythmics or Fleetwood Mac, the audience is at a party. A party that seems so familiar to a King’s student like myself. With the entrance of the different groups arriving, Lee and Clarkson set the scene. The use of props was already interesting from the start. Indeed, the ‘students’ seem to be constantly drinking and use a familiar sofa as the base of their exchange for the night.
With such context it seems that the directors have truly made the audience relate to the 16th Century play, making the Shakespearian gossiping and passion ever more present. Additionally, the directors’ choices as the play develops are very interesting. Not only is their use of tone and physical appearance a challenge our more violent vision of the play but also the revealing adaptations of the play. Indeed, Kate Lee and Katya Clarkson have chosen to create a lesbian relationship between Benedick and Beatrice. Though it seems at first that the dialogue would not be particularly suited, the actors, through their gestures and dialogue make the relationship very fitting. Truly, Holly Ludlow and Lilly Jackson have developed a relationship and incorporated their respective characters deeply within themselves.
The only slight criticism of the play was in term of the acoustics. I was placed on the side and though I understood the play and most of the dialogues overall, it was difficult to comprehend all the different nuances and complicated words.
Also, throughout the show, I was startled by Oliver Taylor’s performance. While it is needless to say that overall the play was excellent, I believe that Oliver Taylor’s performance as Don John transcended one of the others. With his strong and passionate facial expressions along with his clear tone, the character was striking while on stage.
Last but not least, I really enjoyed the energy the Company gave on stage; it was truly the greatest aspect of the play. Each and everyone seemed like they truly had a great time; and so were we!