Review: Much Ado About Nothing
Image courtesy Drama Impact
Cast and creatives
A passionate tale of young and mature love, battling wits, and two explosive sub-plots in a compelling and witty drama suitable for all the family.
'Drama Impact' present William Shakespeare's brilliant comedy 'Much Ado About Nothing'.
Returning from the wars Don Pedro's men are invited to stay at Leonato's for at least a month ... events may detain them longer.
The Company delivers a 90-minute no-nonsense performance with a cast of nine experienced performers.
The show is preceded with a Director's talk on the play and an exciting fun interactive session with the audience.
Claudia RoncalloPerformance date: Thursday 27 June 2019
[Note that this review refers to a performance of the show on 27 June at the Roman Amphitheatre in St. Albans].
For the second year running, the British weather seems to look favourably on the beginning of the open air theatre season.
It is then with a cheerful heart that one sits in the audience of a venue like St Albans Roman Amphitheatre to enjoy a spout of Shakespeare and maybe a glass of wine.
It can be hard to continually bring something new to a four hundred year old comedy, whilst still remaining loyal to the original script.
To its credit, Drama Impact's 90 minute outdoor production of 'Much Ado About Nothing' manages to retain the meat and bones of Shakespeare's classic text whilst trimming any unnecessary fat, in one of the most clear renditions of the text I have come across in the past few years.
Comprising 9 professionals, a tight-knit group of actors present this timeless tale of love and misunderstanding with commendable flare.
The passionate Jonna Nevin gives Beatrice all the sharp wit she needs to keep Signor Benedict (played by David Houston) on his toes whilst young lovers, Claudio and Hero (played respectably by Oliver Thorn and Niamh Handley-Vaughan) have all the believable sweetness you would expect from a newly enamoured couple.
However, the show is stolen by the minor characters that take their freedom to entertain to heart and caper about stealing laughs from all sides of the surprised audience.
Nicholas Benjamin and Jenny Kilcast's version of Borachio and Margret's coupling is a true joy to watch.
Ms Kilcast's feistiness perfectly matches Mr Benjamin's wannabe bad boy persona.
And he also gives us a beautiful sense of truth with Borachio's confession speech, towards the end of the second act.
In this one scene, the actor reveals that his cocksure soldier has a conscience, providing us with a refreshing three-dimensional character, and one of the most complete character arcs of the play.
Harry Harding does a splendid job as both Don John, the self-appointed 'plain dealing villain' of the text, and Verges the second member of 'the watch', a nervous but eager to please comic character.
Mr Harding proves himself to be the perfect Shakespearean comic, as well as the perfect Shakespearean villain, silencing the audience with his snivelling, serious persona before reducing them to fits of laughter with his sudden change to Verges.
His bumbling, sweet tempered nature is comedy at its best.
A very concise and clear rendition of the play, Drama Impact's 'Much Ado' is perfect for a light-hearted night out with the family and absolutely recommended for all those young people that might be studying the piece in their academic studies.
A modern soundtrack with a Regency twist, humorous audience interaction from Nicholas Benjamin as the Friar and two amusing dance sequences add to an overall pleasing family show.
A pre-show warm up act and fencing workshop conducted by the two directors of the play (David Houston and Richard Lewllyn) also adds value and laughter to this exquisite staging of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.
Links and related content
ActDrop listing for The Scoop
Our show listing for Much Ado About Nothing
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