REVIEW: Much Ado About Nothing – Wyndham’s Theatre, Digital Theatre download

This production arrived in the West End last summer on a wave of publicity. Filmed by Digital Theatre it moves the action to 1980s Gibraltar: there’s a Princess Di meringue wedding dress, a little boy with a Rubik’s Cube, a non-stop hen party atmosphere and some rip-off’s of the 80s biggest hits. One plus point of the production is that it uses naturalistic speech patterns which aids the understanding of the dialogue and ensures that no joke or pun misses the mark. Catherine Tate and David Tennant’s undeniable comic timing also helps to milk every last drop of comedy from the piece. But beyond that I found the whole thing a bit of an indulgent celebrity-fest. Tate manages to shoe-horn in as many of her trademark mannerisms as the director will allow and the whole thing is undoubtedly cashing in on the Dr. Who pairing of Tate and Tennant. There’s frenetic activity throughout and the set involves an almost constant revolve which tries to convince us that there’s a lot happening when it’s not – but it adds nothing to the production.

The best thing about the whole production is the discovery of Tom Bateman (below) as Claudio who makes his professional debut straight from drama school and shines throughout.

While watchable enough I still prefer the Globe’s version which ran at the same time as this. In the words of one critic it was “low tech but high emotion” and that’s what this play requires.

 

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