MUSIC OWL AWARDS: 1st – book or play; 1st – direction; 4th – for dates
When I went: 11 August 2011
Location: Wyndham’s Theatre, London
Performers: David Tennant (Benedick), Catherine Tate (Beatrice), Elliott Levey (Don John), Tom Bateman (Claudio), Sarah MacRae (Hero), John Ramm (Dogberry)
Creative team: Josie Rourke (director), William Shakespeare (play)
Approximate price: £60
Special points: Farcical elements, celebrity Shakespeare
Best bit: Farce scenes where Beatrice and Benedick eavesdrop on each other’s conversations
If I could change one thing: On for longer so I could see it again
Much Ado is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays and has been revived in London umpteen times, as well as getting the Joss Whedon treatment in his 2012 film. It is a classic comedy with plenty of farcical elements and romances you root for, both between Claudio and Hero and between the more acerbic Beatrice and Benedick.
I do enjoy a bit of celebrity Shakespeare, especially when it involves the mighty David Tennant. Happily he lived up to his reputation and brought a lot of charm to the role of Benedick, with Catherine Tate equally likeable as Beatrice. They may not have a lot of romantic chemistry, but their brother/sister-like sniping, explored to great effect in Doctor Who, was more than enough for this performance. Josie Rourke’s direction also elevated this production, allocating the right proportions of comedy and tragedy.
I was very lucky to get a ticket as they sold out almost immediately, so if this play is ever revived in a West End theatre with actors of the same calibre I expect that it will be very popular again.