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Thursday, 26 May 2011

David Tennant and Catherine Tate in 'Much Ado About Nothing' at Wyndhams Theatre

The new production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ aims to entertain, it is a kooky modernised version of Shakespeare’s comic classic. The story follows two sets of lovers, the conventional couple Claudio and Hero and the love-hate duo, Benedick and Beatrice. Gossip and rumours trick Benedick and Beatrice into revealing their love for each other, whilst Claudio is fooled into rejecting Hero at the altar. After much joking around, the truth is told and happiness restored; both couples are married, and everyone celebrates with a dance.

David Tennant and Catherine Tate are reunited at the Wyndham’s Theatre as the contrary lovers, Benedick and Beatrice. I wasn’t disappointed... Tate is silly as ever, and though I usually find her irritating, with the Shakespearean wit she excels. Tennant is masterful on stage, his eye contact and quirky mannerisms are instantly attractive to watch. He shows total commitment is full of energy and is consequently utterly believable and likeable. No one can deny the chemistry between Tate and Tennant in all they do.

The setting and interpretation however lets the show down. The stage is covered in a luminous drape of material, looking rather like a giant ethereal jellyfish. This lifts to expose a white marble clad scene, with grand pillars and scenery, apparently supposed to reflect Gibraltar - sunny, kitsch and tacky. The era is early to mid 1980s. Director Josie Rourke has commented that this setting fits well with the female characters as it allows them to inherit some 1970s feminism.

We sat right at the top of the steep theatre and despite this our tickets were still £21! I think it’s awful that celebrity cast shows often exempt themselves from budget tickets.

It was exciting to finally witness David Tennant on stage, after his Hamlet success I was intrigued to see him tackling Shakespeare with my own eyes. Unfortunately the outrageous set caused too much of a distraction for me to really relax and enjoy it. It was disappointing to watch another classic mucked around with, causing much of the beauty of the script to be lost.

‘Much Ado About Nothing’ continues until 3 September 2011, book here.

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