One of Shakespeare’s great comedies is being brought to life at Roleystone Theatre this July.
Described as a joyous romp, Much Ado About Nothing celebrates brave soldiers returning triumphant from the battlefield – only to find themselves bewildered by love.
There has been a plethora of stage productions over the years, including a 2011 show featuring Doctor Who actors David Tennant and Catherine Tate, and numerous television and film adaptations including the popular 1993 Kenneth Branagh version featuring Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves and Kate Beckinsale.
Director Paul Treasure said Much Ado About Nothing is one of his favourite Shakespeare plays.
“It always seems very modern,” he said. “The relationship between Beatrice and Benedick is one I have seen many times with people I know and I love it.
“The play also one has very strong and forthright female characters.
“Like all Shakespearean comedies, there are three or four different plots going on at the same time but it’s primarily a play about two intelligent and witty people and the way everyone else tries to get them together.”
While people often think Shakespeare’s language can be difficult, Treasure said it can be surprisingly easy for actors to breathe life into the words, simply because Shakespeare wrote for actors.
“The main and most exciting challenge is going through the play with a fine toothcomb and finding all the little hints and suggestions that Shakespeaere has buried in there,” he said.
“His plays can often be like a jigsaw or crossword.”
With Much Ado About Nothing, Treasure describes the production as “traditional but radical”.
“Because the Kenneth Branagh version is one of the most beloved Shakespeare films, people forget the play is not set in Tuscany but actually Sicily, which is entirely the other end of Italy,” he said.
“We are actually setting the play in Sicily and, given it’s rarely done this way, this makes it a radical interpretation.
“Because Shakespeare writes so few good female characters and there are so many good actresses, we have changed the gender of many roles.
“The town of Messina is now a town devoid of any men, except the parish priest, because they have all gone off to fight in the civil war and the only male characters are the returning soldiers.”
Much Ado About Nothing plays at 8pm, July 20, 21, 25, 27 and 28. Tickets are $16 adults, $12 concession – book on 9397 5730 or through the new online booking and payment system at www.roleystonetheatre.com.au.
Roleystone Theatre is located at 587 Brookton Highway, Roleystone, opposite the Croyden Road junction.
Over the past 6 years Alex, a Greek-Orthodox man, and Eve, a Lebanese-Muslim woman, have entertained audiences across the country in a ground-breaking trilogy of stage shows that have had the critics raving, shattered box office records with over 25,000 having seen the shows and has led to the making of a major motion movie.