Making the two families in the play members of the Mafia brings nothing to it and its "merry war" between anti-romantics Beatrice and Benedick
, apart from some double-barreled shotguns and switchblades toted by the thuglike cohorts of Don Pedro.
Such badinage perfectly suits Beatrice and Benedick
at the beginning of Much Ado, and for perhaps its first third, the production hummed along.
The subtle tennis game that makes marvellous Shakespeare (think of Beatrice and Benedick
In Much Ado About Nothing) is simply not there.
Such a focus on the comedic elements of Much Ado demonstrates that it is fertile ground for the propagation of at least four species of humor--the witty banter of Beatrice and Benedick
, the sophomoric malapropisms of Dogberry, the slapstick antics of The Watch, and, finally, the witty nonverbal humor provided by Shawn Law's excellent interpretation of Don Pedro.
Shakespeare's famous battle of the sexes was updated to a regional TV newsroom with Beatrice and Benedick
as presenters who couldn't stand the sight of each other and Billie Piper as Hero - a sweet but IQ-challenged weathergirl.
The surroundings really shine during the slapstick scenes, the highlight of the play, which set a bickering Beatrice and Benedick
up for love.
Amy Acker (from Buffy The Vampire Slayer spin-off Angel, as well as the Whedonproduced Dollhouse and his 2011 film The Cabin In The Woods) and Alexis Denisof (Buffy and Angel) are both biting and tender as Beatrice and Benedick
, and their playful comedy sparring is at the film's core.
Much Ado's Beatrice and Benedick
fall for each other only after the entire court puts in a helping hand.
Its collision with the comic plot about the love-hate relationship of Beatrice and Benedick
creates a kind of between-comedy-and-tragedy vertigo, hinged on Beatrice's shocking line: "Kill Claudio".
The first play, Much Ado About Nothing, opens on October 30 featuring Tamsin Greig ( who plays Debbie in The Archers and Dr Caroline Todd in Channel 4's Green Wing ( and Joseph Millson as reluctant lovers Beatrice and Benedick
The engine that should drive the play--the teasing, touching tension between Beatrice and Benedick
, who are forced ultimately to confront the truth of their own affections when they must stand up for the integrity of Hero's--tends to hum along in low gear.
The box shrubs and trees that completed the garden scene on the stage subtly suggested autumn with their pale yellow tops, complementing a Beatrice and Benedick
who had passed the springtime of their youth.