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Beatrice and Benedick are lone wolves, sworn off love – and they can’t stand each other. But their friends see something in them, and they’ll go to any lengths to get them together. Secrets, shenanigans and confusion thrive in this raucous cocktail of N*SYNC, garish eyeshadow and tinsel. It’ll convince even the biggest hater of Shakespeare to believe in love.
Much Ado is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known comedies, and one of his more adaptation-friendly pieces. Hal Jones’ shortened, 80s-era take on the story, directed by Madeleine Withington, gives us permission to enjoy the frivolity and mischief of the classic, minus the wartime subplot, plus disco dance moves. What’s not to love?
Everything about Much Ado is big – big cast, loud music, bright costumes, overstuffed stage decoration. Our protagonists, Beatrice (Hal Jones) and Benedick (Steve Corner) deliver all of their lives at 110% energy. It can sometimes be a bit cringe, but the overall impact is fun and vibrant, and well worth one or two misfires. Supporting characters Claudio (Idam Sondhi) and Hero (Sarah Greenwood) are the naïve, perfect couple, the cushion for all of Beatrice and Benedick’s chaotic energy. Verges (Jack Elliot Mitchell) and Dogberry (Lib Campbell) are hilarious as the fools, while Boracchio (Martin Quinn) takes villainous insanity to a whole new level.
Staging is a kitschy nightclub, complete with tinsel curtains, a checkerboard dancefloor and a photo booth, each of which is put to good use in the characters’ antics. Likewise, disco and pop music are only used when they made sense in the scene, like during a party or a wedding. Having props be fully utilised and music align with what’s happening on stage takes a lot of thought off of the audience’s shoulders and lets us focus on following the Shakespearean dialogue, always a smart move in a Shakespeare adaptation geared toward a younger audience.
With a run time of close to two and a half hours and a lot of olde worlde language, this isn’t your standard, relaxed night out at an independent theatre show. But it is a party well worth attending.
Purchase your tickets to Much Ado here.
Wine Pairing | Sparkling Rosé
Sparkling Rosé feels sophisticated enough for Shakespeare, while the sparkles give it the pazazz we need for this adaptation. Light to medium bodied, lots of red fruits and a touch of stone fruit up front, it’s perfect for any occasion.
My Pick: Lowe Wines Mudgee, Jodie Wilbetree Sparkling Rosé, NV
Jodie is a cheeky Sparkling Rosé produced in Mudgee, one of Australia’s best cool climate wine regions. She’s all about the party, light bodied, fruity and with crisp, sweet finish, and would not be out of place in Beatrice and Benedick’s glasses.
Much Ado, Flight Path Theatre | Tasting Notes
|Aussie Season||26 July to 13 August, Flight Path Theatre, Attractive, Not Model Attractive|
|Theatre Type & Genre||Play, Comedy|
|See it if you like||Shakespeare, modern remakes, disco humour|
|Other Info||awards, warnings, special recs|
|Wine Pairing||Sparkling Rosé|
|Criteria for Wine Pairing||Sparkling, light-medium body, lots of red fruits|