Hero loves Claudio, and Claudio loves Hero. Surely nothing can go wrong. Or can it? Beatrice loathes Benedick, and Benedick cannot tolerate Beatrice. Surely nothing can go right. Or can it?
Professional Help’s production of William Shakespeare’s comedy about the dangers and delights of gossip, and the power of the rumour mill, set in Southern Italy.
Kirk Collens plays Don Pedro. I wasn’t entirely sure about the accent to begin with but it grew on me and Collens gave the character the required Princely quality and was a pleasure to watch. Simon Every plays Don John excellently. Every manages to capture the devious, slightly crazy and hateful nature of Don John without over doing it which had me wondering what cunning plan he was going to come up with.
My favourite performance was actually two characters that play well opposite and off each other. Deborah Wastell plays Beatrice and Steve Blacker is Benedick. These two characters are polar opposites and shouldn’t hit it off but, with a little help from their friends, they do. The way Wastell and Blacker play off each other is entertaining and is full of energy with just a smidgen of loathing and a sprinkling of love.
The whole cast do a fantastic job telling us this story of love, betrayal, honour and shame. They deliver the comedy fantastically with Andrew Lambe’s portrayal of Dogberry making me laugh every time he was on stage. There is a lot of trickery going on throughout this play and all involved performed it brilliantly. The scene where Don Pedro, Claudio and Leonata, played by Julia Munrow, allow Benedick to overhear their conversation where Beatrice has allegedly confessed her love for Benedick and they discuss it, was particularly comical. Closely followed by Hero, played by Akila Cristiano, and Ursula, played by the stunningly beautiful Marielle Jarvis, holding their conversation about Benedick loving Beatrice right by where Beatrice has “hidden” herself. Both of these scenes were really funny, well acted and directed.
The set was minimalistic. There was the stage area, a post and a door. Nothing else was needed and the space was used well. There were a couple of scenes in the play I am not convinced worked, mainly the initial pre-fight build up and some of the dancing. I am not sure the space allowed the dancing to be performed fully. I also thought the play took a little while to get going but once it did however I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. If you get the opportunity you should go and see it.
Review by Lee Cogger
Much Ado About Nothing
Camden people’s Theatre
Tue 30 June – Sunday 19 July
Steve Blacker as Benedick
Kirk Collens as Don Pedro
Akila Cristiano as Hero
Simon Every as Don John
Marielle Jarvis as Ursula
Andrew Lambe as Dogberry
Bushra Lasker as Margaret and Watch
Julia Munrow as Leonata
Shri Patel as Conrade
Nicholas Koy as Santillo Friar Francis
Ben Scarles as Claudio
Jonny Vaughton as Borachio
Deborah Wastell as Beatrice
Linda Miller Director
Andy Robinson Designer
Darion Marshall Stage Manager
Chris Cuming Movement Director
Janet A. Smith-Cantrill Sound & Lighting Design
Stephen Dickinson Company Singing Coach
All Original Artwork Dramatic Inking by Andy Robinson