ReFASHIONed Theatre, Selfridges – until 14 September 2016
The Faction’s production of Shakespeare’s comedy is sharp, stylish and straightforward – with some sparkling performances.
There is no doubting that The Faction’s production of Shakespeare’s best comedy has plenty to make the audience laugh at, but there are occasional moments when it feels more chaotic that can make it difficult to follow.
Much Ado About Nothing follows the romantic highs and lows of two very different couples. On one side you have Hero and Claudio, the ideal couple who are quite clearly in love with each other and on the other side, Beatrice and Benedick – a couple who are more reluctant to admit they love each and not a pairing you can easily imagine. But as we know the course of love never does run smooth and this is certainly the case here, with more than one twist and turn that keeps the audience on their toes.
Directed by Mark Leipacher, the production draws out all the vanity and pride from all of the characters, which heightens the sense of comedy throughout, particularly during the scenes when Claudio and Don Pedro are talking loudly about Beatrice’s love for Benedick in his hearing.
But while the production is fast paced, it can mean that some of the scenes feel as though they are not quite finished (the show is 90 minutes long), missing some of the details particularly at the end, which feels a bit abrupt.
Yet, there are some sparkling performances to enjoy in the form of Daniel Boyd’s comical, vain yet good natured Benedick, whose pompousness instead of making him unlikeable actually makes him charismatic. His performance is complimented nicely by the feistiness and independent nature of Alison O’Donnell’s Beatrice. Together, their chemistry is electrifying and utterly convincing from beginning to end.
Meanwhile, Lowri Izzard (making her professional debut) as Hero is sweet and utterly charming – even if it feels as though she hasn’t been given as much to do and looks a little lost in places. Harry Lister Smith plays the naive and easily Claudio perfectly and his confrontation of Hero’s behaviour is utterly heartbreaking, while Jude Owusu’s performance as Don Pedro makes him a grounded presence.
By using the unique space at Selfridges, it means that Much Ado About Nothing has a sense of sophistication about it from the slick projections to the fashionable costumes. But it also heightens the understanding of the sense of pride and nature that comes through the play constantly.
While some moments could have been better clarified, this is a production that has the ability to draw in audiences of all ages and proves once again inspiration for theatre can be found anywhere.
Much Ado About Nothing will play at the ReFASHIONed theatre in Selfridges until the 24th September. For more information and to book tickets visit: http://www.thefaction.org.uk/#!news/c1sbj