Much Ado About Nothing, by Exploding Whale Productions at Katzpace, London Bridge

Modern adaptations of Shakespeare always run a risk of falling flat with some elements not quite translating and sometimes it can become distracting away from the story.

When it’s done well, however, modern adaptations can really highlight the timelessness of Shakespeare’s work and make the plays more accessible.

Much Ado is one of my favourite Shakespearean plays, friends meddling in each other’s affairs to set them up- and who hasn’t gone through that in some form?

Starting at a necessary slow pace we are introduced to each of the characters, with a couple including Don John (Aimee Cassettari), being gender-swapped unceremoniously and unapologetically it’s exceptionally easy to pick up relationships and motives, due to editing and typical love at first sight we are launched into Hero (Ava Pickett) and Claudio’s (Julian Bailey-Jones) engagement, without them saying one word to one another and the scheming and matchmaking can begin.

Gregory Birks as Benedick stands out as captivating and funny, the relationship with Beatrice (Talia Pick) is my favourite in the show, and I was craving more time with them battling their wits together, Bailey-Jones really comes into his own during the wedding scene, really cranking it up to 10, which makes sense with how extreme and turbulent their relationship is.

Fun and endearing, this production is a sweet compact version of Much Ado, it does unfortunately fall into the trap of feeling rushed at points, but if you know the plot already it’s a really refreshing production that makes full use of a modern setting- I just wanted more!

Kimberley Turford

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