Tickets for Much Ado About Nothing were cleared out of Wyndhams Theatre’s box office almost as soon as they went on sale, the thought of David Tennant and Catherine Tate as warring lovers Benedick and Beatrice too much to resist. Now the play is on stage you might be regretting that you weren’t swift enough − but never fear! There is still a way.
Each day Wyndhams holds a lottery: 20 best seats are offered at a knock-down price of £10 on the day of each performance. But, unlike at the National Theatre, you can’t get a ticket for a mate − it’s one entry into the draw per person in the queue. And this being a lottery, even if you get all your friends in line for 10am, like the West End Whingers you might not all get tickets. You might even get none. But, unlike the National Theatre, at least you won’t have been queueing since 6am − entry into the draw is from 10am and tickets are allocated at 10.30am.
If the lottery doesn’t work out you can always try returns (although: good luck with that) and standing tickets at £16, but we have to say the standing view from the back of the balcony is very poor. Getting tickets seems like a lot of faff so we also have to ask − is the play worth it?
Er. Well. That depends on what you’re after.
David Tennant and Catherine Tate are, as all reviews agree upon, excellent as Benedick and Beatrice. They’re sparky and funny and the whole play has been built around them. Let’s say that again: the whole play has been built around them. This is a star vehicle, it’s the Tennant and Tate Show, to the extent that the rest of the play feels ignored (a good production of Much Ado needs to tackle the problems of: why should we care if idiot Claudio gets to marry drippy Hero? And why does anyone ever listen to Don John, Shakespeare’s most pathetic villain?). The rest of the ensemble seem resigned to carrying on their dialogue while T&T slapstick it up behind them, the speeches drowned out by audience laughter.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. If what you want is to see two massive TV stars do what they do best just metres away from you, this is the perfect play. And Tennant and Tate are genuinely fantastic. If, on the other hand, you want to see a performance of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, it’s on at the Globe Theatre and standing tickets only cost a fiver.
Much Ado About Nothing starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate is on at Wyndhams Theatre until 3 September, Mon-Sat 7.30pm and matinee Sat 2.30pm, tickets £10 lottery, £16 standing. Much Ado About Nothing is also on at the Globe Theatre until 1 October, various dates and times, £5 – £37.50.