Claudio and Hero are in love and marriage is on the cards. However, there are those who are plotting to stop it. Beatrice and Benedick, meanwhile, can’t stand all that love stuff anyway.
Be prepared for lies, trickery, deception, misunderstanding, matchmaking, parental meddling and general chaos. All richly blended together with love, wit and humour.
Much Ado’s mix of romance, borderline slapstick, verbal comedy, soaps and melodrama makes it a timeless piece of theatre that’s especially relevant to audiences new to Shakespeare.
The audience know the truth
‘Much Ado…’ has been a beautiful challenge. It’s a very delicate play. On the surface, it’s a comedy – and so it needs to be funny. But, equally, there are scenes like Claudio’s lament to Hero, a lament because he believes he has unjustly caused her death, that head more toward the tragic.
The fact that Claudio hasn’t, actually, caused Hero’s death – she isn’t actually dead – is immaterial. The audience know the truth; but Claudio doesn’t. He believes she’s dead and must play it so. It may well be ‘much ado about nothing’ but, nevertheless, it requires a tone far removed from the playful gulling of Beatrice and Benedick, or the pompous malapropisms of Dogberry.
In adapting Shakespeare’s original text for the company, Will Jessop has had to make many excisions whilst retaining all the intricate plots, schemes and shenanigans which are, essentially, what the play is about. I think he’s done a fine job of this and hope that you, the audience, agree.
For all the performers, and production team, I have many thanks and great admiration. To achieve this play – if we have – has been down to an enormous commitment. Many hours. Much imagination. A lot of rehearsal, discussion and analysis. A lot of trust. And an enormous amount of belief.
Cast & Crew
Benedick - Lawrie Morris
Beatrice - Ros Davies
Claudio - James Benfield
Don Pedro - Tommy Jessop
Don John - James Elsworthy
Leonata - Katie Appleford
Hero / Borachio - Katy Francis
Dogberry / Friar - Aaron Pressman
Verges / Margaret - Anna Brisbane
Kenneth - Ben Ward
Director - Peter Clerke
Writer - William Jessop
Designer - Karen Tennent
Choreographer - Caroline Hotchkiss
Production Manager - Maria Chirca
Technical Manager - Ben Ward
LX Designer - Mark Dymock
Costume - Jenni Sundheim, Leanne Fitchett
Voice work - Sian Raddinger
Visual Consultant - Caroline Parker
Musical selection - Louise Sarton
Photography - James Yeats-Brown
Graphic Design - Richard Williams
Support Workers – Ros Francis, Eleanor Brooks, Daisy Searle, Chris Pearce
'Brilliantly told and very funny.'
'A wonderful and joyful show.'
'It always amazes me how I never see the learning disability. Pure class and totally engaging.'
Paula Thelwell and Jane Delmer went along to help when the group decided to celebrate with a performance of Shakespeare’s work
This year, to mark the Jersey Evening Post’s 125th anniversary, employees are being given an extra day’s leave to spend time volunteering in the community.
As the company happens to employ about 125 members of staff, the aim is to give back a year for every one that generations of writers have been covering Island life in a community where honorary service and volunteering are the foundations of society, our culture and Jersey’s generous nature.
It is rare to find someone living here who, in however small a way, has not given time for the benefit of others, but those who give their time freely don’t tend to be the types to shout about it, especially in a community where altruism is commonplace.
When it came to choosing a charity to support, my colleague Jane Delmer and I were of the same mind: helping Les Amis to celebrate their 40th anniversary with a performance of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing at the Jersey Arts Centre, performed by the Blue Apple Theatre from Winchester, whose actors all have Down’s syndrome and other learning difficulties.
Our ‘day’ turned into 12 hours, but as Les Amis, the company and the Arts Centre are all registered charities, our efforts had three- fold benefits. We offered ourselves as ‘general dogsbodies’, doing whatever we were asked during the day, when the actors and residents got together and at the performance.
That included working closely with a handful of the 80 Islanders with Down’s syndrome and associated conditions whom Les Amis helps to live independently and to their full potential in the community.
Jersey doesn’t always get things right, but when it comes to caring for these special Islanders, we have plenty to shout about.
If anything, Jane and I benefited the most from giving our support to people like Justin Burrows and Pierre Brochand, two men whose love of life and enthusiasm made us realise how lucky we both are, and that includes now counting them as friends.
For the 150-strong audience who watched Blue Apple perform, it was an eye-opener to what anyone can achieve if they want to, regardless of their start in life. Neither Jane nor I want to blow our own trumpets, but if by reading this just one person is inspired to join the thousands of Islanders who do their bit for local charities, it was a day well spent.
Jersey Evening Post, Tuesday 2nd June 2015
Friday 24 April 7.30pm
The Tower at Kings’ School
Thursday 30 April 8pm
The Minack, Cornwall
Friday 1 May 7.30pm
Tuesday 5 May 7.30pm
The Lights, Andover
Friday 8 & Saturday 9 May 8pm
Mill Studio at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
Tuesday 19 May 7.30pm
Jersey Arts Centre
Thursday 9, Friday 10, Saturday 11 July 7.30pm
Theatre Royal Winchester
Tuesday 15 September 7.30pm
University of Winchester
Wednesday 16 September 7pm & Thursday 17 September 7pm
RADA Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre
Friday 18 September 7.45pm & Saturday 19 September 7.45pm
The Salberg, Salisbury Playhouse
Tuesday 22 September 7.30pm
QE2 Theatre, Winchester College
Thursday 24 September 7.30pm
Wessex Arts at Alton College