Such excitement there was too about this show – two helicopters hovering overhead, and the Houses of Parliament even put on a firework display near the end. The chaos (both scripted and additional) was ably managed by a cast who were universally excellent at making themselves heard and felt*. Not only that, but they were naturally funny – managing to get a laugh out of the audience when urging us to buy programmes before the play had even begun – and Beatrice’s corpsing when Benedick stopped mid-scene was entirely forgiveable, and didn’t hold the action up since we were waiting for that damn helicopter to move off in any case.
Another year, another Much Ado. Yay! And I was particularly thrilled to be catching a production from the Shakespeare Tobacco Factory, a Bristol-based company about whom I have repeatedly heard excellent things but have never managed to see “in the wild” as it were.
Ah Much Ado. This was my fifth production in five years and it was every bit as enjoyable as all the others – no sign of fun-fatigue in the same way I think I might be getting misery-and-ambition fatigue (and still one more Macbeth to go this year, oh Lord!)
This was an Antic Disposition production in Grays Inn Hall, with an Anglo-French flavour similar to Henry V but luckily not at all harrowing. It was WW2, rather than WW1, which definitely helps. Messina was a town square, complete with bunting and tables (and an onstage bar which sold drinks – but only during the interval!). We saw the first night which came with the minor additional excitement of power cuts taking out the stage lights, and we were sat at a table in the bar, right in the action.
This is part of a long-running double act put on by the RSC (originally – then coming to London via Chichester) alongside Love’s Labour’s Lost, the setting of the two plays bracketing the First World War.
Just a very quick one to point out – in case you had failed to spot it – that the BBC has put up some recently rediscovered footage from Zeffirelli’s 1967 Much Ado About Nothing which starred Maggie Smith (now Dame and famous Dowager) as Beatrice and her future husband Robert Stephens as Benedick.
I’m not going to tell you the plot again – you should all jolly well be up to speed bynow (links) – and you also shouldn’t need me to tell you what Iris is about either. It was a good night for it – warm enough to make the Pimm’s feel like a good idea, not quite as hot and sweaty as Richard III.
I gave blood earlier this week. Don’t worry – I’m not about to go all Titus Andronicus on you and mention all the times Shakespeare talks about blood – life is too short and I tend to get light-headed just looking at my own donation*. I was just lying there, musing on how odd it was to, you know, undergo pain and some prolonged discomfort to help strangers. How great altruism is**. And how profoundly undramatic it is.
I had a wonderful, unexpectedly quiet day on Friday, waiting for something to be delivered. The last time I was at home, the peace was somewhat disturbed by a neighbour practising his trumpet – The Entertainer and Christmas carols. In September. This time, perhaps helped by the fact it was cold enough not to have the windows open, I basked in glorious silence.