Much Ado About Nothing In An Ado-Worthy Venue
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Does Macron love May? Does Beatrice love Benedick? The entente cordiale is alive and well in award-winning Antic Disposition’s lively production of Much Ado About Nothing.
It’s worthwhile for two reasons — the splendid setting of Gray’s Inn Hall to which you might not ordinarily gain admittance unless you were dating a barrister, and the joie de vivre of the pre-set and Jacques Tati-style pantomime of the French market square they’ve built inside.
Combining Monsieur Fawlty with René from ‘Allo ‘Allo, Louis Bernard as Dogberry, and especially L’Accordioniste Scott Brooks lead the capering with beaucoup de panache.
The central romance is somewhat overshadowed by the bombast, and perhaps discoloured by Chiraz Aich’s unusually strident Beatrice — sometimes the whole performance tends towards shouty. For that reason you may care more about the love affair between Hero, sweetly realised by Floriane Andersen, and Claudio, or the machinations to interrupt the wedding by Alfie Webster’s splendidly vile Don John.
Antic Disposition is undoubtedly a clever and resourceful company close to the top of its game, but this Much Ado is not quite as fine as their movingly beautiful Henry V which is about to embark on a fresh tour. It’s probably Shakespeare’s fault.
Much Ado About Nothing, Gray’s Inn Hall, WC1R 5ET. Tickets £32-£46, until 1 September 2018.
Last Updated 28 August 2018