Sunday, July 7, 2013

Review: (Toronto) Much Ado About Nothing (Fringe)

Pub Shakespeare is a Giddy Thing
by Colette Shaw

I saw the Shakespeare BASH’d entry into the Fringe last year, and because of this I was excited to see their new production of Much ado about Nothing in the same venue, and they did not disappoint. Once again they have produced a tight, 90-minute version of Shakespeare’s play that doesn’t feel too rushed or like it is missing anything important.

Staged in the upstairs pub at the Victory Café, the production is set at the end of the Second World War complete with period costumes – the Rosie the Riveter outfits on the members of the watch are a nice touch. The acting and text work are quite strong for the most part. The standouts (as is to be expected with this play) are Beatrice and Benedick. James Wallis brings mirth and just the right amount of anger to Benedick, while Amelia Sargisson’s spitfire Beatrice is too fun to cross over into the shrewishness that the part can sometimes bring. The only weak link was Jamie Johnson’s Leonato: he rattles through his text so quickly it is difficult to follow, and seems flustered, even visibly flubbing lines. 

On the whole, this was a light, fun, romp through Shakespeare’s text. Come early if you want to get a ticket at the door – this one has been selling out almost as soon as the box office opens an hour before curtain!

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