Antic Disposition – Grays Inn Hall
Photograph by Scott Rylander
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.
His Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket
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.
Iris Theatre – St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden
I’m not going to tell you the plot again – you should all jolly well be up to speed by now (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.
The Rose Playhouse
I’m not sure whether to review this as a play, or what it really was – a joyous celebration.
I wrote back in January about how rarely Shakespeare writes an unhappy marriage, but his suitors don’t always take the simplest route there, and sometimes have to be – shall we say – encouraged…
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.