ado

Theatre I was finally able to see the Manchester Library Theatre's version of Much Ado About Nothing on Tuesday night (after the mishap last week) and thoroughly enjoyed myself. This is a straight down the line traditionalist production were the men are uniformed and the girls are in lovely white dresses in a period setting -- no all white walls or nudity here (except for one bit in which one of the porters well, pissed all over the stage. Was it prosthetic penis? Not sure. It was very small though and the school kids in the audience laughed for nearly ten minutes until the teacher told them not to).

But it was very funny. One of the items I look for in these things is how the director and cast deal with the humour which hasn't aged well. Sometimes jokes will be over emphasised so that the audience will laugh in a fake manner. For some reason this troop and director Chris Honer have managed to make those aspects of the script genuinely funny through such novel things as timing and chemistry. Even the moment when Beatrice asks Benedict to murder Claudio was hilarious -- it's actually very impressive when a story that you know very well, with a quotable script can still throw in shocks and surprises in the right hands.

But really it was a great cast, bringing together actors and actresses who according to the programme have worked on a whole selection of popular tv dramas, from Doctors to The Bill through Family Affairs. I'm not sure which gig they do to supplement the other but it really demonstrates that there's a lot of talent in theatreland and it's such a shame that the same faces keep turning up in starring roles on the tube. Much Ado can really stall if Beatrice and Benedict are badly cast and lack a spark, but Lucy Tregear was funny and passionate and Peter Lindford provided an excellent foil and great intelligence and focus. Similarly you really have to believe that Claudio and Hero can fall in love through a brief glance across the stage, but here David Gyasi was perfectly gallant and Erin Brodie totally loveable. But really the whole of the cast was excellent right through to the Zatoichi style dance climax at the very end. These kids could move...

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