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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

Much Ado About Nothing
by William Shakespeare

Liverpool Playhouse
April 13 – May 5

Director: Phil Wilmott
Produced by The Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatre Company
Stephen Billington, Ally Holmes, Sally Ann Triplett, Perri Snowdon, Simon Merrells, Faz Singhateh, Peter Bygott, Stephen Boswell, Ruth Everett, Howard Sadler.

Simon Merrells and Sally Ann Triplett in Much Ado About Nothing.

Simon Merrells (Benedick) Sally Ann Triplett (Beatrice)

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website

On stage, nowhere is the adage that the road of love is truly rocky more handsomely played out than in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, with its gang of characters so perversely adverse to stating their feelings.

Peter Bygott (Leonato)Stephen Billington (Claudio) Howard Saddler (Don Pedro).Benedick (Merrells) and Claudio (Billington) are back from the wars. The Second World War, that is, and the action fits nicely into the period, given that the Bard doesn’t actually mention from which wars his original characters are returning from. Fifty years might see them coming back from Iraq, who knows.

Peace in our time, however, is something the characters fail to find, as everybody begins spying and eavesdropping on everybody else, with faultless performances bringing laugh after laugh from the audience.

The set, the front of a mansion with a vast double staircase, is beautifully designed, simple and used to full effect, as it changes at the flick of a candle into the inside of a church or hall, with ease.

Stephen Boswell (Rev Dogberry) Peter Bygott (Leonato)Sally Ann Triplett, in the role of “Tom-boy” Beatrice, is a ball of sparkling energy throughout and brings the play to life, along with Merrells, in the sub-plot of their characters being too stubborn to recognise their love until the very end. Peter Bygott is perfect as Leonato, the wronged and last-to-know father of Hero (Everett), whereas Perri Snowdon entertainingly brings the duplicitous Conrad to life, especially when the guards – in this case, a troop of Boy Scouts – beat him up.

Though lighter than some Shakespeare plots concerning the battle of the sexes, Much Ado About Nothing still has its dark moments conjured up brilliantly by Don John (Singhateh) and his cruel, curling lip.

Overall, this is a fine production, set superbly and enacted faultlessly by all involved.

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website



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