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Robert Tanitch reviews Much Ado About Nothing at the National Theatre/Lyttelton Theatre

Simon Godwin’s production of A lot of noise about nothing is set in a hotel on the Messina Riviera in the 1930s. A swing band lends a potentially zany musical comedy context to Shakespeare’s play. Unfortunately, the cast doesn’t have the 1930s celebrity or personality to make this approach to the text work properly.

The play consists of two parts: First, the merry war between Beatrice and Benedikt, the reason for the popularity and constant revival of the play. Then there is the groom Claudio, who on his wedding day, just before the service begins, accuses his bride Hero of being a whore.

Katherine Parkinson is a miscast. John Heffernan is okay on his own. Together they lack the vivacity and chemistry their skirmishes need. There are two scenes in which they believe the other worships them: one in prose for Benedict, the other in verse for Beatrice. Both are played here as a farce when there is to be a contrast between the two. And the farce just isn’t funny enough.

Production picks up slightly after the wedding fiasco. The cast is more content with the seriousness than the comedy.

The comic hit is David Flynn as Dogberry, the former police officer who now runs the hotel’s security. Flynn’s performance is modeled after Ricky Gervais’ David Brent in the TV series, The office.

Ewan Miller plays Conrade, the villain’s aide, so well you wish he had more to do.

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Robert Tanitch reviews Much Ado About Nothing at the National Theatre/Lyttelton Theatre

Source link Robert Tanitch reviews Much Ado About Nothing at the National Theatre/Lyttelton Theatre

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