"The greatest romcom of them all"
May 11th to 18th 2019
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Pete Bagley
Benedick and Beatrice are sworn enemies, but they have a shared past: an affair which went wrong and left wounded feelings and injured pride on both sides. However, Beatrice’s younger cousin Hero is now to be married to one of Benedick’s close friends and they are once again drawn into each other’s company. For the sake of her cousin and Uncle Leonato, Beatrice must force herself to be civil to her former lover and his friends. Meanwhile, Benedick’s friends play a trick on him, allowing him to eavesdrop as they discuss how much Beatrice still loves him ...
This production was set in the English countryside in the Summer of 1945 with the officers and young men returning from the War in Europe to find Beatrice, Hero and the other local women still working as Land Girls. Dogberry and Verges have spent the War keeping order in the village by running the local Home Guard unit and now find they are kept busy when, by chance, they uncover a plot which threatens the happiness of Leonato’s household.
With music and costumes from the wartime period.
What the reviewers said about this production:
Under Pete Bagley’s direction, a vibrant cast give the play a new lease of life.
At its core is the combative relationship between Benedick and Beatrice. As ever, Jon Elves and Cathryn Bowler rise to the occasion and give those roles just the right mixture of vituperate verbal jousting with a vulnerability to sensitivities that lingers from a previous relationship.
Much Ado is often referred to as Shakespeare’s romcom, a sort of Two Weddings and a False Funeral, without Hugh Grant’s swearing. But the humour in this production owed as much to Dad’s Army ( I’m sure Shakespeare never wrote "You Stupid Boy" as an aside) as the village Watch took on the mantle of Captain Mainwaring's men.
Ironically, for all the sanctity of staying true to the words what Bill wrote, for me the funniest scene relied on not a single syllable being uttered by the eavesdropping Benedick (pushed to full chauvinistic-pig potential by Jon Elves). His acrobatics in an imagined undergrowth stole the first act.
Beatrice, his former lover turned enemy, artfully played by Cathryn Bowler with a well-judged performance, was a suitably cold and calculating opponent well able to cut through his pomposity with her acid tongue.
(To read the reviews in full click on 'The Review' above the photos)
- Pete Bagley : Director
- Alan Fenn : Don Pedro
- Jon Elves : Benedick
- Johnny Smythe : Claudio
- Paul Forey : Balthasar / Dogberry
- Chris Firth : Don John
- Luke McDonald : Borachio
- Lukasz Nowacki : Messenger / Friar Francis
- Jonathan Rees : Conrad
- Brian Emeney : Leonato
- TBA : Hero - Siobhan Minehane
- Cathryn Bowler : Beatrice
- Michael Hammond : Antonio
- Gisa Arum : Margaret
- Shely Ganguly : Ursula
- Annie Gay : Sexton / Isabella (a Maid)
- Shirley Jobson : Maria (a Maid)
- Trevor Gay : Fred (Watchman 1)
- Bill Bosworth : Verges
- TBA : Watchman 2
- Michael Hammond : Watchman 3 - Hugh Oatcake
- Jane Railton : Director's Assistant
- Susan Schweitzer : Stage Manager
- Pete Bagley : Set Designer
- Judy Talbot : Design Team
- Paul Harrison : Lighting Designer
- Dave Cornish : Sound Designer
- Ellen Sharkey : Sound Operator
- Pam Coleman : Wardrobe i/c
- Les Rahilly : Props i/c
- Maggie Parkes : Prompt
- Anne-marie Greene : Choreography