Christopher Luscombe (Nell Gwynn) turned his hand to two of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, having opened at the Theatre Royal Haymarket for a limited season. In collaboration with the RSC and Chichester Festival Theatre, Much Ado About Nothing, otherwise known as Love’s Labour’s Won, appeared as the sequel to Love’s Labour’s Lost. Following a successful 2014 run in Stratford-upon-Avon and Chichester, the double-bill opened on the West End on December 9th 2016.
Widely regarded as one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, Much Ado About Nothing is the tale of the tumultuous relationships between lovers Claudio and Hero and Benedick and Beatrice. Luscombe’s production catapulted the setting into post-war 1918, following Claudio and Benedick as they return world-weary from the devastating war. Desperate to leave the past behind, Claudio and Hero fall quickly in love, whilst Benedick and Beatrice are left to bicker. When the malevolent Don John falls for Hero, he hatches a plan to cast her as a love-rat, much to Claudio’s despair. Soon, Beatrice is forced to console her devastated friend, whilst Claudio must reach a decision. A tale of romance and tragedy, the play is ultimately a comedy that sees a happy ending reached for all the lovers.
After his recent appearance in Photograph 51, Edward Bennet played the bawdy Benedick as well as a leading role in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Lisa Dillon co-stared as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, having had recently performing in leading roles such as Moll in the RSC's The Roaring Girl and as Katharina in The Taming of the Shrew.
Christopher Luscombe directed the production, following recent success with Nell Gwynn, as well as Wicked, Spamalot and The Madness of George III. Much Ado About Nothing also featured design by Simon Higlett, lighting by Oliver Fenwick, sound by Jeremy Dunn and choreography by Jenny Arnold.
Much Ado About Nothing appeared as part of the Shakespeare celebrations, marking 400 years since his death, with several Shakespeare plays taking place across London at venues including the Barbican. Having opened at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on December 9th, Much Ado About Nothing ran until March 18th 2017.
Fans of Much Ado About Nothing will enjoy seeing this all new adaptation, which places the production in post-World War One. With some scenes of an upsetting nature, the production is recommended for ages 11 and up.
May not be suitable for very young children