Peripheral to the high-spirited confusion is a sense of violence and war, as the opening sequence displays an injured rebel lifted into the train. Most characters have a good shot with a pistol, knocking off tin cans on top of the train. Perhaps the usage of Mexican stereotypes go overboard (tequila and sombreros are all over the place), but placing this comedy in early 20th century Mexico is not just a gimmick; such a backdrop intensifies the action onstage, and makes fully real a world of tumultuous, and even dangerous, relationships.
Romilly and Needham as Beatrice and Benedick are like firecrackers, brutally but deliciously mean to each other, the kind of spitfire that’s only allocated to lovers. Needham is a brilliantly headstrong buffoon, charming and restless, while Romilly is quick and spirited. Anya Chalotra as Hero is also captivating, using her voice to both sing a beautiful lullaby and tragically wail at her wedding.
The second half is stronger, as the slanderous allegations create real rifts amongst characters. Ewan Wardrop as an American filmmaker, Dog Berry, provides the comedic relief, playing the character's endless malapropisms as broken Spanish.
Accompanied by an evocative score by James Maloney and offering up some outstanding performances (along with some outstanding horse puppetry), Much Ado is a celebratory and perceptive production. Smart but still joyful, it creates a new landscape to reflect on both the comedy and the tragedy of this Shakespeare play.
|What||Much Ado About Nothing, The Globe review|
21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London, SE1 9DT | MAP
|Nearest tube||Blackfriars (underground)|
14 Jul 17 – 15 Oct 17, Performance times vary
|Price||£5 – £45|
|Website||Click here to book via the Globe|