» » Much Ado About Nothing (2011)

Short summary

Young lovers Hero and Claudio, soon to wed, conspire to get verbal sparring partners and confirmed singles Benedick and Beatrice to wed as well.

David Tennant and Catherine Tate both starred in Doctor Who together. She was his travel companion and best friend.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: YSOP
    I absolutely love Much Ado About Nothing, it is one of my favorite Shakespeare works, and this cast does it so well. Both David Tennant and Catherine Tate play their parts perfectly. They bring great cynicism and sarcasm, over the top humor, and some very touching moments, all in one package. David and Catherine not only do this well individually, but even more so when they play off of each other. While the two are clearly the stars of the show, the other actors definitely don't disappoint. I'm particularly fond of Elliot Levey as Don John. He does a great job of bringing that character's mischievous qualities to life. Modern clothing and some creative diversions from the script might not please some Shakespeare fans, but I personally found it to really add to the humor of the show. All of my favorite scenes are so much more entertaining because of what happens off script. I definitely recommend purchasing this from Digital Theatre.
  • comment
    • Author: Brick my own
    "Much Ado About Nothing" shares my top spot of Shakespeare plays with "Henry V" so coupling this sparkling comedy with some of my favourite actors was very eagerly awaited. In some ways I was delighted but in others disappointed.

    David Tennant's performance matched up to his wonted high standards and I had no problem with the post-Falklands War Gibraltar update. I thoroughly enjoyed the often overlooked Adam James as Don Pedro who, for me, was the cream of the generally good supporting cast. The music was catchy and perfect for the early 80s setting and the revolving staging created some really interesting exchanges between foreground and background.

    Catherine Tate, as expected, played Beatrice's snarky wit incredibly well but there were many occasions when I wanted a little more betrayal of the defensive nature of her wit. These two have history together, as is shown when Beatrice says of losing the heart of Signor Benedick, "Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile; and I gave him use for it, a double heart for his single one: marry, once before he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may well say I have lost it." Instead sometimes the vocal sparring came across as who could outwit whom purely for the sake of winning but with no deeper meaning.

    Given the above I would have rated it 8/10 but there were a few awful missteps by director Josie Rourke which pulled it down for me. The whole piece seemed to be played for farce at the expense of many other considerations. Beatrice overhearing Hero tell of Benedick's love for her was completely overwhelmed by the ridiculous spectacle of Catherine Tate suspended on a rope above the stage! The consequent audience laughter drowned out the dialogue to such an extent that it was impossible to hear what was being said. Later, Beatrice descends into incongruous teenage histrionics over Benedick declared love when only moments ago she was supposedly heartbroken over the public humiliation and ruin of her cousin. Shakespeare plays, regardless of their categorisation, are never just comedies or just tragedies, there's always a little of both in every one - it's what makes them so good - so to have these really jarring comedic inserts into what should have been moments of high drama and pathos serves only to throw off the intended mood of the scene and to cheapen it. And then there is Claudio's attempted suicide! In a production that couldn't get through the "Kill Claudio" scene without introducing juvenile humour this was so out of left field as to be dizzying!

    Notwithstanding all of this though, if this production sparks a love for the wonderful body of work of William Shakespeare then I'll forgive the directorial misdemeanours with this proviso: there are better versions of this amazing play (Kenneth Branagh's sumptuous 1993 romp, for example) so go and seek them out!
  • comment
    • Author: Daigrel
    Most of us know the story. It's wonderful and witty even without the powerhouse of Tennant and Tate in the main roles. They are truly magnificent and bring the sparring characters of Benedick and Beatrice to life beautifully. Tate's character acting adds another level of comedy which is rarely seen, however as much as I thoroughly enjoy Tate's comedic talents, I think there were some areas of this play where her role could have used a touch more brevity than was obviously directed. There is history between Beatrice and Benedick and while I personally know the play backwards, a newcomer for whom this may be their first experience would not necessarily pick it up and may actually question why these two might bother getting together at all.

    I do have to agree with another review of this particular production, however. The direction for some areas was definitely questionable. It could have definitely done without Tate being suspended from a rope while she listens to Hero and Ursula talking up Benedick. It wasn't necessary and I think had it been treated in the same hilarious way that Tennant's scene as he listens in on the conversation between Claudio, the prince and Leonato, it would have been far more effective. Same again for the scene after Hero has been declared unfaithful and Benedick professes his love to Beatrice. She was just in tears and then shifts the scene into hysterics. It was overdone and jarring, though Tate does pull it right back when Beatrice unleashes her anger on Benedick at his initial refusal to kill Claudio, which is superb.

    One bit of direction I loved with the production was Adam James' treatment of Don Pedro's affection toward Beatrice. This was new for me as it's never really been emphasised in the productions I have seen, and I did enjoy the new angle this gave the character of the prince. Lovesick for Beatrice but ultimately not to have her - even at the end we see him a little sad he missed out specifically on Beatrice and was not necessarily in want of just anyone to wife as Benedick advises.

    I WISH this would be released on DVD so I could keep a copy of it. Sadly it is only available (at the time of writing) for digital download. It's definitely worth seeking and watching. It's swiftly become my favourite production.
  • Credited cast:
    Tom Bateman Tom Bateman - Claudio
    Alex Beckett Alex Beckett - Borachio
    Jonathan Coy Jonathan Coy - Leonato
    Mike Grady Mike Grady - Verges
    Clive Hayward Clive Hayward - Friar Francis
    Adam James Adam James - Don Pedro
    Elliot Levey Elliot Levey - Don John
    Sarah MacRae Sarah MacRae - Hero
    John Ramm John Ramm - Dogberry
    Enzo Squillino Jr. Enzo Squillino Jr. - Balthasar
    Catherine Tate Catherine Tate - Beatrice
    David Tennant David Tennant - Benedick
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