MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Ross Gumbley
at Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch
From 19 May 2012 to 9 Jun 2012
Reviewed by: Lindsay Clark;
Much Ado at The Court Theatre
A mix of verbal jousting, slapstick and romance is set to bring MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING to The Court Theatre's Addington stage. Lisa Chappell (McLeod's Daughters, The Cult) and Roy Snow (Go Girls, Shortland Street) star in one of Shakespeare's most-loved romantic comedies. A cast of 21 actors makes this production the largest staged at The Court's new theatre.
Beatrice (Chappell) and Benedick (Snow) are two affirmed singletons engaged in a “merry war” of words until each is tricked into believing that the other is hopelessly in love with them. Meanwhile, Claudio and Hero (Kyle Chuen and Lizzie Tollemache) are so in love they can barely speak – until Claudio is fooled into thinking that Hero is unfaithful. Blundering through the plots are Constable Dogberry (Tom Trevella) and his inept night watch, providing much of the slapstick amongst the witty banter.
Director Ross Gumbley is “embracing the irreverence of the script as well as the themes of appearances, deception and sexual tension laced through the plot.” Designer Julian Southgate has created a set using forced perspective, moving staircases and visual trickery to combine the grandeur of 19th Century Italy with the idea “things aren't always what they seem”.
“Beatrice and Benedick's relationship set the model for romantic comedy,” Gumbley says. “The verbal jousting between the two leads is pure screwball comedy, and has been often imitated (but never bettered) since.”
Lisa Chappell last appeared at The Court Theatre as Shakespeare's daughter in the 1998 production of THE HERBAL BED and is delighted to be playing Beatrice, “one of Shakespeare's fieriest heroines”. Roy Snow (last seen at The Court in 2009's ANYTHING GOES as Billy Crocker) is likewise looking forward to the weight of expectation associated with such an iconic work and character - “the anticipation of working in the new Court just increases the excitement.” Gumbley praises the chemistry between the two. “The sparks between Beatrice and Benedick are essential to the comedy – and these two bring them in spades,” Gumbley says.
Gumbley's first involvement with Shakespeare play was a 1984 production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM with the Riccarton Players. With The Court's new theatre a short distance away from the old Mill Theatre, he is proud to be “bringing back the bard” to Addington.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Performances: 19 May – 9 June 2012
Show times: 6:30pm Mon/Thu, 7:30 Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat (2pm matinee Sat 26 May)
Venue: The Court Theatre, Bernard St, Addington
Tickets: Adults $48 | Senior $41 | Groups (10+) $39 | Student $29 | Child $19
Bookings: 03 963 0870 or www.courttheatre.org.nz
Lisa Chappell, Roy Snow, Kyle Chuen, Lizzie Tollemache, Stephen Papps, Ross McKellar, Stewart Ross, Kim Garrett, Tom Trevella, David Ladderman, Tim Bartlett, Barry de Lore, Josh Butler, Georgia Binnie, Tom Worthington, Stacey Lavendar, Tainui Kuru, Layna Hunt, James Sinclair, Emma Griffith, Naomi Cohen
Set & Props Designer: Julian Southgate
Lighting Designer: Brendan Albrey
Composer/Sound Designer: Luke Di Somma
Costume Designer: Emily Thomas
Choreographer: Annette Searle
Production Manager: Mandy Perry
Stage Manager: Cally Castell