Much Ado About Nothing by William ShakespeareMuch Ado About Nothing, abridged.
CLAUDIO: So, um, Hero, I sorta maybe like you a whole lot will you go to the prom with me?
HERO: We should get married! Squeeeeeee!
BEATRICE: Pfft. Love is for stupid losers who are stupid.
BENEDICK: You know, you might get laid more often if you weren’t such a cynical bitch all the time.
BEATRICE: Fuck you.
BENEDICK: Get in line, sugartits.
*audience is beaten over the head by sexual tension*
DON PEDRO: Hey everybody, I had a great idea! Let’s make Beatrice and Benedick fall in love!
EVERYONE: YAY! MEDDLING!
PRINCE JOHN: So, I think I’m going to break up Claudio and Hero.
BORACHIO: Really? That’s your dastardly scheme? How do we possibly benefit from that?
PRINCE JOHN: No, see, I don’t like Claudio because my half-brother likes him, and I hate my half brother, so…wait. Okay, so it’s actually a really pointless plan that only serves to create conflict. But it’s the only way I get any good scenes in this thing, so MISCHIEF AHOY!
BORACHIO AND CONRADE: YAY!
BEATRICE: Hey Benedick, you still suck donkey balls.
BENEDICK: I fart in your general direction! Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!
BEATRICE: I dont want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper!
PRINCE JOHN: So guess what Claudio? Your woman totally cheated on you. I saw, I was there.
CLAUDIO: OMG I HATE THAT WHORE.
DON PEDRO: Despite the fact that he’s a bastard in all senses of the word and has no reason to be helping me or my friends, I think we should believe John without proof or even asking Hero’s side of the story.
CLAUDIO: Hero, you’re a shameless whore and I hate your stupid face!
PRIEST: Great job, now Hero’s dead from sad.
CLAUDIO: OMG I AM SO REMORSEFUL. FORGIVE ME, DEAD HERO!
HERO: Pysche! I’m really okay!
BEATRICE: Luckily THIS time the priest’s idea to fake a girl’s death to solve all her problems actually worked, instead of backfiring horribly.
BENEDICK: Hey, that’s pretty funny. You know, I guess you’re not that bad. I think I love you, and stuff.
BEATRICE: Yeah, I guess I kind of love you too.
ANTONIO: Close enough. Now off to kill Prince John!
BWW Review: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING at Arts Centre Melbourne
That effervescence is more than abundant in the award-winning Antic Disposition's interpretation of the play during its UK Cathedral tour, which culminates here, within the vaulted interior and acoustically resonant Gray's Inn Hall. Antic Disposition specialises in presenting classic plays and stories in historic buildings and unusual non-theatre spaces. In this instance, it has enabled many of the people attending the show to discover a self-contained and hidden part of London's rich history. Although 'cathedral' is a bit of a misnomer, Gray's Inn Hall has its own specific legacy of grandeur. It's fitting also that this production should end its tour here, as it's a coming home of sorts. Gray's Inn is one of the few remaining original Shakespearean venues in London - The Comedy of Errors was staged here in
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Quick reminder: this is one of those plays in which women are treated cruelly for suspected but unproven sexual infidelity. - Besides that, Antic Disposition has produced another smooth and diverting Shakespeare, easily accessible in a way few tend to achieve.
But surely that laugh rings differently today than it did years ago, or even just one. The MeToo aspect is inevitable in a play about varieties of attraction and ownership. After all, the central plot is set in motion when that young woman, Hero, having become engaged to marry the soldier Claudio, finds herself the victim of a smear campaign impugning her virginity. Claudio viciously renounces her, hardly having troubled to investigate the claim. So does her father. And in the subplot, which dominates the other with the dazzle of its dialogue, the witty Beatrice and Benedick argue the terms of their intimacy despite having forsworn marriage and especially each other.
Mel Giedroyc serves up a fine Beatrice in this agreeably loopy production. What does stay is a formidable vein of physical humour. When he declares his love, she whips out a dead fish to menace him with. When he tries to inch closer to her, he tumbles down a flight of stairs. Calam Lynch, making his stage debut as Claudio, makes a convincingly young, snarling, short-fused suitor: ready to publically humiliate a woman he wooed without even having a conversation with her. Some of its best moments are the silliest: like the utterly batshit masked ball, featuring Beatrice pratting about in a giant inflatable cow costume. Absolutely wonderful.