Little Theatre Company

Live theatre in the heart of Burton upon Trent

Much Ado About Nothing

by William Shakespeare

Performed: June 2016

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Review by Caroline Kay - Burton Mail

I've  never made it a secret that I am not a huge fan of the babblings of The Bard.

Okay, I agree that William Shakespeare's storytelling is some of the best ever written, it's just the language I don't get.

Thous and arts. Forsooths and talking in riddles and rhymes. No, sorry that's just not how I roll.

Don't get me wrong, I have been to Stratford and seen the RSC at its very best but I couldn't be doing with the snobbery of not being able to open a packet of crisps or waft my programme to cool my face. Yes, there are rules and regulations when watching The Bard's prose in his home town.

I now have to take back my scorn as Little Theatre Company's latest triumph, Much Ado About Nothing, has changed me from a Shakespeare shirker to a Bard babe.

It tells a timeless story of mischief-making and gossip, match-making and interference. One faction of troublemakers is intent on breaking up young lovers Hero (Olivia Farthing) and Claudio (Tim Robinson), while a group of friends is determined to bring the warring and witty Beatrice (Vicky Fryer) and Benedick (Daniel Tunks) together.

Director John Bowness has moved the setting of Much Ado forward some 300 years to the First World War, which is also the focus of a number of commemorations this year.

The success of this show can't be put down to just one person - although Daniel Tunks is simply dynamic as Benedick - but Shakespeare's words, along with Bowness's perfect direction, play a great part in bringing this immensely enjoyable comedy to life - even to a sceptic such as myself.

If you've never watched Shakespeare, or seen this comedy, they you really will be in for a treat.

From Jack Hawkins' live piano playing and singing, to the comic timing of Tunks (surely the West End is crying out for an actor of this standard) the show is rip roaringly funny. Peter Clemson and Mike Mear's portrayal of two bumbling policemen, Dogberry and Verges, is hilarious.

I was completely captivated from start to finish, with only one forsooth uttered during the whole of the play - and trust me there are plenty of lines this cast has had to learn. And learn it well they have fair maiden.

As we commemorate 400 years since the death of Shakespeare's there has been, and will be, hundreds of productions of his works on both the amateur and professional stage.

However, if you only go and see one this year, make sure it's this one.

You won't get a better opportunity to see great Shakespeare on home turf with a cast worthy of the professional stage.

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