Maan.

Much Ado About Nothing

by William Shakespeare

Festival Theatre

Overview

Sparklingly funny and giddily blissful. This is, in its entirety, an endeavour that sings: poignant, impassioned and gorgeous

Times

This imaginative pairing makes total sense. If love is thwarted in the first play, it is triumphantly fulfilled in the second

Guardian

‘Sigh no more, ladies - men were deceivers ever.’

Winter 1918. A group of soldiers return from the trenches. The world-weary Benedick and his friend Claudio find themselves reacquainted with Beatrice and Hero. As memories of conflict give way to a life of parties and masked balls, Claudio and Hero fall madly, deeply in love, while Benedick and Beatrice reignite their own altogether more combative courtship.

Shakespeare’s comic romance plays out amidst the brittle high spirits of a post-war house party, as youthful passions run riot, lovers are deceived and happiness is threatened – before peace ultimately wins out.

One of the most popular comedies in the English language, Much Ado About Nothing was possibly known in Shakespeare’s lifetime as Love’s Labour’s Won.

Shakespeare’s great romantic comedies, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing were first paired to great acclaim at Stratford-upon-Avon in 2014. This innovative doubling is now presented at Chichester in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Matching events, characters and themes suggest that these razor-sharp romances belong together. In Love’s Labour’s Lost two sparring lovers, Berowne and Rosaline, are separated; at the start of Much Ado About Nothing (or Love’s Labour’s Won), two sparring lovers meet again after a long absence and continue to quarrel, until they are tricked into acknowledging their love.

Directed by Christopher Luscombe, with a dazzling design by Simon Higlett and glorious music by Nigel Hess, the productions are set either side of the First World War. Love’s Labour’s Lost conjures up the carefree elegance of a pre-war Edwardian summer; in post-war Much Ado About Nothing the world has changed forever, the roaring 20s just around the corner. A 22-strong ensemble company performs in both productions. Following his appearance at Chichester last year in The Rehearsal, Edward Bennett returns to play Berowne and Benedick; Lisa Dillon plays Rosaline and Beatrice.

Cast & Creatives

Cast

Sam Alexander

Don John

John Arthur

Antonio

William Belchambers

Canrade

Edward Bennett

Benedick

Paige Carter

Ursula

Rebecca Collingwood

Hero

Lisa Dillon

Beatrice

Nick Harris

Francis Pickbone/Butler/Officer/Musician

Nick Haverson

Dogberry

John Hodgkinson

Don Pedro

Tunji Kasim

Claudio

Emma Manton

Margaret

Chris McCalphy

Sexton

Peter McGovern

George Seacole

Chris Nayak

Borachio

Jamie Newall

Friar Francis

Steven Pacey

Leonato

Roderick Smith

Verges

Jamie Tyler

Hugh Oatcake

Harry Waller

Balthasar

Anna Wheatley

Housemaid

Creative Team

Christopher Luscombe

Director

Simon Higlett

Designer

Nigel Hess

Music

Oliver Fenwick

Lighting Designer

Jeremy Dunn

Sound Designer

Jenny Arnold

Choreographer

Kevin McCurdy

Fight Director

Gabrielle Dawes

Casting Director

Helena Palmer

Casting Director

Gallery

REVIEWS

A match made in heaven

Daily Mail

Blissfully entertaining

Daily Telegraph

Sparklingly funny and giddily blissful. This is, in its entirety, an endeavour that sings: poignant, impassioned and gorgeous

Times

The whole ensemble creates a theatrical tour de force, combining comedy, humanity and a wonderful feel-good factor. Quite simply the best plays you'll see anywhere

Sunday Mirror

This imaginative pairing makes total sense. If love is thwarted in the first play, it is triumphantly fulfilled in the second

Guardian
Running Time
2 hrs and 30 mins including the interval
Notes
Please note Northgate Car Park closes at 6pm due to Sloe Fair on 18 October