As Shakespeare’s works go, Much Ado About Nothing has to be one of the silliest. But its simple, superficial characters and ludicrous storyline make it much easier to plonk into any setting.
And that’s what Simon Dormandy has done at the Rose Theatre Kingston. The production, which opened in the middle of a spring heat wave this week, is pertinently set at a luxury spa on a Mediterranean holiday island. Think MAMMA MIA! mixed with Made in Chelsea and you’ll get the idea. It’s all about mafia culture and the patriarchal society, which works extremely well as a contemporary piece, with the story, becoming a complex mishmash of romantic comedy and Godfather-style intimidation between warring family factions.
But it’s in the humour where this play will really win you over, and despite the occasional bit of over exuberance; the comedy is done with real flair.
Leading the way is television star Mel Giedroyc, who will soon begin rehearsal to join Broadway star Patti Lupone in the West Production of Company. And Mel shows her mettle with this performance, with perfect comedy timing and a good grasp of the character of Beatrice. She is well matched by John Hopkins as Benedick, whose clowning is excellent. But this is very much an ensemble production and from the dastardly Don all the way down to the lowly musicians every inch is wonderfully thought out.
Special mention must also go to designer Naomi Dawson, whose multi-layered set is awe-inspiring.
For Shakespeare lovers and theatre beginners, this is a production that’s a must see.