Review of ‘Much Ado about Nothing’  presented by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men in the Old Palace Gardens, Ely on Wednesday 08th June 2016

Much do The Lord Chamberlain's Men June 16 The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a vibrant company of talented actors, entertained an enthusiastic audience in the grounds of The King’s School Ely, with a hilarious and witty production of ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ by Shakespeare.

The show was in fact ‘All about Everything’: love, war, humour, tragedy, loyalty, trickery, revenge … the list is endless. This was possible because it not only met the watchwords of the new Artistic Director, Peter Stickney, which were: authenticity, excellence and magic, it swept us off our feet with its clear quips, impassioned characterisation and amazingly swift costume and character changes.

As in Shakespeare’s time, all parts, including the beautiful ladies, were played by men and in this production they were played so well that it did indeed seem appropriate for the drama.

Benedick (played by Jordan Bernarde) and Beatrice (Oliver Buckner) were excellent opponents in the battle for the wittiest put down at the beginning of the play and finally passionate devotees at the end, when marriage plans were afoot.

The shenanigans relating to Claudio (Nathan Coenen) and his desire for the beautiful Hero (Jon Tozzi) created many antics on and off stage that led to a catastrophic cancellation of their marriage, much to the horror of hero’s father Leonato (Matthew McFetridge). The wicked instigator of a cruel injustice was Don John (James Lavender) and his lackeys Borachio (Jon Tozzi) and Conrade (Joshua Meredith). James Lavender also played a delightful constable Dogberry whose frequent verbal slips had the listeners roaring with laughter.

Other vital contributor to this fantastic production included Musical Director Alex Beetschen, Movement Director Darren Royston, Costume providers Polly Laurence and Katherine Newbury, Vocal Coach Jacquie Crago and set design Morgan Brind.

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