365 Days of Shakespeare

That's right – the Bard in a year.

250. Much Ado About Nothing

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Want to laugh? Want to laugh really, really hard? Then you need to get yourself to a production of “Much Ado About Nothing”, stat. This show has all the best parts of Shakespeare’s comedies: gut-busting laughs, razor-sharp wit, a battle between the sexes, hilarious watchmen, devastating misunderstandings, romance, and, of course, at least one wedding. Though it is all in iambic pentameter with the trademark Shakespearean command of language, it is easy for an audience to understand and enjoy the wild ride that is “Much Ado About Nothing”.

Set in Italy in a merry household when the soldiers are returning victoriously, the play follows two relationships: that of Hero and Claudio, the innocent lovers, and that of Beatrice and Benedick, whose relationship is like a less abusive version of what is portrayed in “The Taming of the Shrew”. The two compliment each other well, and it is plain to see that there is genuine love throughout (no matter how much Beatrice and Benedick may be in denial). When a devious plot threatens to put the relationship between Hero and Claudio, it takes the efforts of everyone – including the teaming up of Beatrice and Benedick – to put things right once more.

Also providing a great deal of entertainment are the watchmen of the town – foppish, clownlike fellows who are led by the unbelievably hilarious Dogberry and his faithful sidekick Verges. Personally, I could watch a play just about these folks and be perfectly content. No matter how great the main cast can be, it is usually this group that really steals (and sells) the show – so it is a good thing they get a couple of really great scenes!

“Much Ado About Nothing” works best when the cast plays. Watching an actor have genuine fun with a script as rich as what Shakespeare provides is a real privilege and joy for an audience. There are so many jokes already written into this play that it is funny all on its own, but when a cast finds new and exciting ways to use the text to their advantage, it becomes that much better.

“Much Ado About Nothing” is one of Shakespeare’s most mature comedies, well-formed and well-written, with an engaging plot and endearing characters. In its darkest moments, it is heartbreaking, and in its lightest, it soars…and as is expected with such authorship as it boasts, it always delivers on its comedic promises.

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Written by Caroline Mincks

June 8, 2010 at 5:49 PM

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