Much Ado About Nothing
by William Shakespeare

Poster for Much Ado About Nothing

Although the set was simple, the costumes were lavish.  Peter described the clothing as a sort of 16th/17th/18th century compromise in the interests of comfort, availability and glamour. It certainly helped to make this a particularly impressive production. Claudio, a well respected young nobleman falls in love with Hero, the beautiful daughter of his friend Leonato.   They decide to marry and, to pass the time in the week before the wedding, they decide to set a ‘lovers’ trap’ for Beatrice and Benedick to get them to stop bickering and fall in love.  Don John, a sullen bitter man who likes to make trouble for others, convinces Claudio that Hero has been unfaithful to him and he abandons her at the alter. Hero’s stricken family members decide to pretend that she died suddenly of shock and grief and to hide her away while they wait for the truth about her innocence to come to light. Fortunately, a night watchman overhears a conversation which ultimately proves Hero’s innocence but Claudio still believes that she is dead and grieves for her.

Characters from Much Ado About Nothing

Characters from Much Ado About Nothing

Character from Much Ado About Nothing

 

 

 

 

April / May 2005

The first Shakespearian play to be performed at The Venture Theatre for many years, Much Ado About Nothing was a real tour de force for all those involved and was very well received by the audiences.  The decision to stage it in the round, or, to be more precise, on a thrust stage, came as no surprise to those familiar with some of the previous productions of the producer/director, Peter Varden.  The setting did away with the need for complex sets, allowing the cast to concentrate on intimate speech and the action.

Peter used the text of the First Folio edition of the play, published just after Shakespeare's death.  There are always variations in the historical editions of these scripts and audiences may have noticed one or two in this production.  Others just happened in rehearsal.  For example, Beatrice and Benedick between the sheet became between the sheets.  It seemed to fit modern humour so much better.


Two characters from Much Ado About Nothing

Leonato tells Claudio that, as punishment, he wants Claudio to tell everybody in the city how innocent Hero was. He also wants Claudio to marry Leonato’s “niece”—a girl who, he says, looks much like the dead Hero. Claudio goes to church with the others, preparing to marry the mysterious, masked woman he thinks is Hero’s cousin. When Hero reveals herself as the masked woman, Claudio is overwhelmed with joy. Benedick then asks Beatrice if she will marry him, and after some arguing they agree. The joyful lovers all have a merry dance before they celebrate their double wedding.

Characters from Much Ado About Nothing

 

Characters from Much Ado About Nothing