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Much Ado About Nothing

“Sweet, witty and warm”

Keep calm and carry on. Brigid Larmour’s Second World War relocation of Much Ado About Nothing returns much of the original meaning to this now-clichéd phrase with a thoroughly entertaining take on Shakespeare’s comedy celebrating the ingenuity of women in wartime, both onstage and off.

Set in a bombed-out auditorium, the all-female production pays homage to the Osiris Players, Britain’s first all-female professional theatre company. With the cast attired in RAF blue, the staging suggests a stolen moment of fun and friendship away from the realities of wartime austerity.

Emily Tucker’s Beatrice epitomises this light-hearted attitude. Paired with Anna O’Grady’s jolly, sauntering Benedick, this is a particularly sweet – but never saccharine – version of Shakespeare’s warring lovers. Their flirtatious banter pitter-patters down, with O’Grady radiating mirth over melancholy.

Indeed, it’s the performances in general that make the production so much fun to watch. Nyla Levy and Pepter Lunkuse are a delicate and youthful Hero and Claudio, but they still find the sting in the cruelty of the wedding scene.

Rebekah Hinds, meanwhile, is a brilliant, bottle-swiggin’ and proper cockney Borachio. She then segues into being a sultry, 1940s soul singer as Margaret. Like Hinds, Elly Condron as Don Pedro/Watchman and Joanna Brookes as Dogberry offer many moments of genuinely funny comedy.

Dad’s Army and Shakespeare might not seem like natural bedfellows, but Larmour’s mash-up has all the slapstick charm of the ragtag Home Guard unit, plus just the tiniest hint of sadness: the preciousness of joy against the realities of the war.

Director Brigid Larmour: ‘We need to embrace a theatrical culture that looks like our country’

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Production Details
Production nameMuch Ado About Nothing
VenueWatford Palace Theatre
StartsOctober 4, 2018
EndsOctober 27, 2018
Running time2hrs 30mins
AuthorWilliam Shakespeare
DirectorBrigid Larmour
Set designerRebecca Brower
Lighting designerAideen Malone
Sound designerArun Ghosh
CastAnna O’Grady, Elly Condron, Emily Tucker, Emma Lane, Joanna Brookes, Julia Watson, Juliet Leighton-Jones, Nyla Levy, Pepter Lunkuse, Rebekah Hinds, Tripti Tripuraneni
ProducerWatford Palace
VerdictAll-female cast add warmth and wit to Shakespeare’s romcom
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Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

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