Shakespeare’s modern audiences tend to split along the same lines as the crowd that follow opera; you either instantly fall under Shakespeare’s spell or spend the evening scratching your head and wondering what on earth thither means.
Fortunately you are far more likely to encounter the former when attending a performance of Much Ado About Nothing, currently showing at Wyndhams Theatre. The play is set in 1980s Gibraltar, a “party peninsula” to British soldiers stationed there. The set and costumes reflect the 80s vibe very well, and those who have heard “Hey Nonny Nonny” before will note the revamped version.
Catherine Tate and David Tennant are both absolutely hilarious…
Catherine Tate as Beatrice and David Tennant as Benedick provide seemingly effortless laughs as they banter back and forth on stage. Doctor Who fans, and fans of The Catherine Tate Show will already be aware of the actors’ versatility; Tate and Tennant are impressive in their ability to caper one minute and build dramatic tension the next.
Elliot Levey is slightly taxing as the villainous Don John; one is not sure as to whether he is playing an actual villain or a caricature of one at any given moment. You are never in doubt with the character of Dogberry, played by John Ramm. His comic timing is impeccable and he receives as many laughs from the audience as the two leads.
Overall Catherine Tate’s portrayal of a smart, savvy woman who doesn’t suffer fools and David Tennant’s bewitched, bothered and bewildered Benedick are both absolutely hilarious (Tennant’s accent doesn’t hurt, either.) Beatrice and Benedick’s change of attitude, from despising each other to being “too wise to woo peaceably,” is superbly done and reason enough to see this production of Much Ado About Nothing.
The performance continues until 1 September.
Ticket prices vary. 20 best seats for £10 are released on the day of each performance.