REVIEW: Much Ado About Nothing starring Eve Best and Charles Edwards at Shakespeare’s Globe 15th July 2011

 More than 400 years on, Shakespeare’s play has lost none of its power to delight – and to astonish.

The show generated great waves of warm laughter from a packed house that hung on to every word. With the Globe stage covered with pools of blue water and its pillars transformed into fruit-laden orange trees, this production memorably blends the play’s humour with its moments of darkness.

The cast don’t disappoint either – Eve Best’s Beatrice (above) is fiercely intelligent, ironic and good-hearted, using her prodigious wit as a shield against hurt. She makes it plain that her heart has already been bruised by Benedick and that her insults and jibes are intended to keep him at a distance.

Charles Edwards (above right) gives a superb performance as a feeling, thinking man who keeps pain at bay by pretending to be a cheerful silly ass.

The scenes when both are duped into believing that they are loved by the other and finally acknowledge their true feelings are staged with great wit and imagination. Best even grabs the hand of one of the groundlings as she describes her sudden, unexpected happiness.

But, right to the end, both actors suggest the precariousness of their love in a world corrupted by sin and made even more complex by their own prodigious intelligence. Only when they kiss (to the delighted cheers of the audience) does the flow of words end in the joy of their mutual love.

Where it matters most, in the wit, wounded feelings and final happiness of Beatrice and Benedick, this production soars.” The Telegraph

This is one of the best theatre experiences I’ve ever had – elbows on the stage being totally swept away in the fantastic storytelling of Shakespeare and the phenomenal skill and talent of this truly wonderful cast. I can’t praise it highly enough. Just magical.