Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Cate Clelland
Canberra Rep at Theatre 3 to 3 October
Review by Len Power 25 September 2015
‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. When the men return after a war, a battle of courtship between two couples begins. After overcoming some problems on the way, love triumphs in the end.
Cate Clelland has set her production in an imaginary province in Australia in the 1920s. You probably wouldn’t know that unless you read it in the program as it mostly still looks and sounds very European. The action plays out on a beautiful garden set designed by Clelland and nicely lit by Cynthia Jolley-Rogers. Clelland also designed the magnificent 1920s costumes. The large cast vary in their abilities with the language but overall it’s a very strong production in all aspects.
Jim Adamik gives a commanding performance as Benedick, effective in both the comic and serious aspects of the character. Lainie Hart gives a charismatic and beautifully controlled performance as Beatrice. An audience member was overheard at interval saying she was so good they could imagine her playing it in London. Other standout performances were given by Tony Turner as Leonato, Colin Milner as Antonio, Joshua Bell as Borachio and Riley Bell was a delight as Dogberry. Vivek Sharma as Claudio and Marni Mount as Hero gave charming performances as the second set of lovers and Fraser Findlay sang beautifully as Balthasar.
The choreography by Jamie Winbank was excellent. It was a nice touch to have Jim Adamik, who really can dance, appearing to struggle with the dance steps in the finale.
This is a fine production of one of Shakespeare’s most accessible plays.