A new adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous comedy, updating the Bard’s tale for an era of social media, Much Ado About Not(h)ing, comes to the Cockpit Theatre later this month. Get your smartphones ready and book your tickets now!
The interactive, immersive production runs from 20 to 22 June 2019.
In fair London, where we lay our scene, Pedro Don has just returned from a six month deployment in Afghanistan. Ancient grudge has broken to new mutiny between Pedro and his half-sister Joan upon the recent death of their father, from whom Joan has been estranged since she left home. In response to his father’s last request, Pedro attempts to build a relationship with Joan. Meanwhile, Pedro’s godfather, former Mayor of London, Leonato Elliott, tries to support his godson through this time of grief and reconciliation by inviting him and Joan, along with Pedro’s band of brothers from his platoon, Claudio and Benedick, to a welcome home celebration at his home with his daughter Hero, niece Beatrice and sister Ursula, who is waiting to hear from her son, Sean, injured in Afghanistan.
Adapted and directed by Kelly Wilson, Much Ado About Not(h)ing retains Shakespeare’s original text, though some of it has been reshaped into lyrics for original songs created by Alex Loveless and Scott Howland. Situations, language and characters have been altered to create a play reflecting 21st century society.
While most theatre productions remind audiences to turn off their mobile devices before a performance, Much Ado About Not(h)ing encourages audiences to keep those devices turned on. This way they can watch both the live performance playing out in front of them and the online drama taking place simultaneously on Facebook.
The production, originally seen in Australia last year, also utilises digital projection, movement and dance to tell its tale.
Wilson originally conceived the idea for Much Ado About Not(h)ing as the dissertation for her MA in Text and Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Speaking about the inspiration behind the adaptation, she said:
“Much Ado About Not(h)ing explores what we, as a 21st century society, take most note of. Do we take note of the people and events that occur around us in the ‘mortal world’, or do we become so entrenched in our ‘digital world’ that we spend most of our day looking at a c omputer screen or our mobile phone? I believe this ‘noting’ of social media and technology is the root of some troubles that we experience in our relationships today, and will be reflected in the obstacles between the characters in the play, set in 21 st century London.”
Joanna Clarke and Oliver Franks lead the cast as Joan Don and Pedro Don, with Gunnar DeYoung as Benedick and Tamsin Lynes as Beatrice. That cast is completed by Nathan Dale, Drew Paterson, Kate Brown, Robyn Caldwell, Leroy McGillan, Keanan Cantrell and Nini Ugulava. Choreography is by Darren Royston.
Much Ado About Not(h)ing runs at The Cockpit Theatre, Gateforth Street, London NW8 8EH from 20 to 22 June 2019, with performances Thursdays to Saturdays 8pm. Tickets are priced £15. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
More about Adaptivity Theatre Company
Kelly Wilson created Adaptivity Theatre Company to use classical texts as the foundation for its contemporary productions. This practice reflects the philosophy that insights into contemporary issues that society has been grappling with for centuries can be found through the thematic exploration of classical texts within a contemporary context. The company’s first production, Much Ado About Not(h)ing, will be followed later this year by a staging of Hamlet that will debut in Australia.