An interview with Exploding Whale Theatre Company and their rendition of Much Ado About Nothing at Katzpace



Tell us a bit about you as a company and this show?

Exploding Whale was formed in 2017 as the resident company of London Bridge studio theatre ‘Katzpace’. Our debut show ‘Heroes’, a coming-of-age story set to the soundtrack of David Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust’, enjoyed sell out runs on tour at the Brighton & Edinburgh Fringe, Bridge House SE20 and most recently headlining Sydenham Arts Festival.

We return home to Katzpace this October with our nappy 5-star revival of Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. Directed by Ellie Morris, member of the Olivier Award winning Mischief Theatre. Our abridged modern twist on one of Shakespeare’s most loved comedies was a sell-out hit in 2015, praised for its accessibility, hilarity and energy. 

You’re doing Shakespeare, what makes your production relevant and new?

I think the beauty of Shakespeare’s plays, especially Much Ado, is you can always find new perspectives in them depending on the context in which they are put. In our case, the action takes place in a modern office, a setting which lends itself well to the exploration of gender politics, the roles of women in traditionally all male environments and the disastrous effects of toxic masculinity. We’ve also changed quite a few of the male parts to female ones, which has created some interesting new dynamics.
What have you enjoyed the most about this project?
My favourite thing about any new project is always meeting a new group of people. We have an amazing company and they’ve made the rehearsal room such a fun place to be.
What do you think people will like most about the show?
It’s very fast paced. The whole thing runs at about 1 hour 15 (excluding interval) so hopefully people won’t have time to get bored!
What attracted you about Much Ado over one of the more commonly done plays?
First of all I think it’s one of the most relatable plays for audiences today. Secondly, the character of Beatrice. She’s, arguably, Shakespeare’s most modern female role. She is outspoken, witty and has very little care for social conventions. She’s totally relatable to modern audiences and a joy to watch.
Are you hoping to develop the piece? If so, how?
No plans to as of yet, but who knows what may happen…
Favourite line from the play?
‘I love nothing in the world so well as you. Is not that strange?”
Three words to describe the play?
Fun. Fast. Fierce.
Tell us a funny story from rehearsals?
During the scene where Benedick is spying on his colleagues, hiding in obscure places round the office, Greg, (who plays Benedick) actually getting stuck under one of the tables!
Anything else people should know before coming to the show?
Nope! Just book your tickets soon, some shows are already sold out!

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