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[personal profile] vervet_monkey
Last night saw me and [ profile] _stolendreams_  heading off to London to see the wonderful Mr Tennant and Mrs Tate in Much Ado About Nothing. By some miracle we also managed to do this (and have dinner) without getting lost ([ profile] _stolendreams_ I'm assuming you didn't get lost on the way home?)

Oddly enough the other reviews weren't lying, it was amazing. The physical humour was played so well and the line delivery perfect. It's surprising how some lines in Shakespeare really do sound exactly like the slang we would use today, especially when hit just right. I've seen a few Shakespeare performances in modern setting (Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet) but it's always struck me as somewhat separate, like they may be sat in a high school dining hall and dressed in miniskirts, but then Shakespeare's words are just pasted on top. This production didn't have that in the slightest, Shakespeare's words seemed perfectly at home in 1980's Gibraltar (or a 2011 theatre).
Benedick's entrance on the golf cart is amusing, as was the delivery of the line "Here you may see Benedick, the married man". There is also something a bit surreal in watching Darth Vader, a couple of cowboys and various other costumes dance around the stage with David Tennant dressed in a miniskirt and patent leather Doc Martins. The then exchange between Beatice and Benedick without either knowing the other was played brilliantly. We know David and Catherine play off each other amazingly, but here they just got it right, the body language is just perfect (Also in the scene in which Beatrice is sent to call Benedick to dinner). 
The physical humour in both Benedick's and Beatrice's eavesdropping scenes had the whole theatre in hysterics. David manages to cover himself pretty completely in paint (Is it bad that I was sat there wondering how much of a pain it must be too have to go and wash it all out of his hair every night?). And also sprays beer over the other cast after they have stubbed out their cigarettes in the can. Catherine does her best impression of a child pretending to be a ghost, and then gets pulled up into the air. Which is pretty awesome in itself, but then she also managed to flail around up there for a good while suspended from her back, swinging back and forth to grasp at Hero and Ursula, dangling upside down but still managing to right herself. 
Claudio and Hero's wedding in which Claudio 'kills' Hero was impressively played, and still managing to be somewhat shocking, even though you know it is coming (Or possibly that's me getting absorbed into things, as has been known to happen). The movement of Hero between Claudio and her father, and the verbal fighting between the two, was spot on. Jonathan Coy played the part in which Hero is believed to be dead but then found not to be exactly on the line between being scary and angry enough, but not so much that he could not come back from it. Benedick placing himself between Hero and her father also does wonders for the character. Where the others have left and Beatrice and Benedick are left alone too is played wonderfully, the climbing in and among the chairs, pulling each other around and dancing around one another. 
The final scene, in which Benedick propose marriage to Beatrice, seems like it was written for David and Catherine, and they played it that way too. Everything is played so big and so boldly, yet subtle enough to get across all of the conflicting points being raised. And on a purely shallow note, I'm not sure I'm ever going to complain should David be required to sweep Catherine up and kiss her quite so dramatically. Plus, over the top stupid dancing is always amusing.

I knew I was going to like the show, it had David Tennant, I'll watch TV shows based on football for him, Shakespeare and against Catherine Tate? Yeah, something would have gone very wrong if I didn't like it. I know he says Shakespeare feels like the day job, all the TV stuff just kind of comes along once in a while, so I shouldn't be surprised he was amazing. I know the man can play a scene through his eyes alone, but not only that, he can convey it to a whole theatre. We were sat in the very last row, right up at the top, but it reached us all the way up there.
And then there is Catherine. Whose comedy I dislike with a passion, but keeps popping up and proving she's a pretty perfect actor herself (And actually incredibly funny to watch herself too, it's just the sketches that make me want to throw things). She was amazing. 
And even take away David and Catherine, the production was incredible. Like I said before, it all fit together, it felt right. Claudio was incredible (I wasn't so much a fan of Hero, but I think that's more of a fact that I have issues with the character rather than the acting), even the son with his rubix cube was awesome. I'm not sure there was anything that felt out of place or like it could have been played better (although I am not exactly known for spotting them anyway, especially when I get wrapped up in something). Definitely worth the money to go, I'd say even if you only have the option of standing tickets now it's worth it.
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August 2011

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