Much Ado About Nothing is widely recognised as being one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies. It has been performed time and time again by some of the world’s leading comedic actors and between 4th-7th February, the Act One drama society has decided to take on the challenge. It is a remarkably modern tale of a woman fighting for her place in a man’s world and it deals with themes which are still relevant in modern society: love, denial, deception, secrecy and trust. The cast relished the challenge of the Shakespearean language and have managed to communicate the comedy despite the jokes being over 400 years old.
So what’s different about this version, and why should you come and see it? For starters, it’s funny. A little light relief to start off the spring semester can’t be a bad thing. We’ve really worked with the actors to make the most of all of the numerous insults, the witty interactions between characters and of course, that old favourite, the sexual innuendo.
Secondly, you will get the chance to hear some original music. We are going to have live music throughout the show which will really set the 1940s tone. The famous masquerade ball which features in every Shakespearian production takes the form of an up-tempo jive in ours. The cast have been working incredibly hard on this, and despite not necessarily being natural dancers, it has really taken form.
Thirdly, the 1940s setting. The costumes, set and music have all been designed to evoke this era. It also helps us to bring out the more serious side of the play and the very real issues that it addresses. The director, Katrina Grier, told us that in this version ‘Beatrice represents the more modern, confident woman who has played her part in the War and feels herself equal, demonstrating the great advances that women’s involvement in World War II brought to feminism’. It’s not a modern interpretation of the text, but somehow the 1940s setting and the Shakespearean language seem to come together really nicely. Small reminders of the war allow the important themes of Shakespeare’s masterpiece to shine through the laughs.
Bursting at the seams with comedy, romance and conflict, this stylish adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing brings the genius of Shakespeare to the run-down glamour and precarious patriarchy of the late 1940s. Tickets can be purchased online for all 4 nights on the Students’ Union website or at the box office. Doors for each night open at 7pm with the performance beginning at 7.30pm. The performance is suitable for ages 14+ due to mild sexual content. Tickets are £8 and £6 for students at the YMCA Theatre, Roath.