Rose Theatre Kingston today announces the centrepiece of their ten-year anniversary will be Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, a Rose co-production with Granville & Parham Productions and antic | face. Mel Giedroyc will star as Beatrice, reuniting with director Simon Dormandy following Luce at Southwark Playhouse in 2016. The production runs 13 April to 6 May 2018, with a press night on Wednesday 18 April. Further casting, including for Beatrice’s sparring partner Benedick, is still to be announced.
Don Pedro is victorious. Having won a turf war down in the city, the Mafia overlord and his entourage take over the luxury spa hotel Messina in order to hide-out, party and recover deep in the Sicilian hills. As hotel owner Leonato fawns over his clan boss, his beautiful daughter Hero wins the heart of Claudio, the Don’s young protégé. Meanwhile, the no-nonsense, customer experience manager Beatrice has unfinished business to attend to with Benedick, Pedro’s commitment-phobic consigliere. But when Hero is disgraced, the party is over, love turns to hatred and new battle lines are drawn.
Beneath its witty surface, Much Ado About Nothing is a powerful exploration of the struggle for love, identity and self-knowledge in a male-dominated world – as relevant today as ever before. Our production will use Shakespeare’s original language in a sharp contemporary setting that not only offers glorious opportunities for physical comedy amid the furnishings of a spa hotel but also provides a social context that enhances the darker themes in Shakespeare’s timeless masterpiece.
Executive Producer of Rose Theatre Kingston, Jerry Gunn said today:
“We are delighted to be producing Shakespeare’s most popular comedy Much Ado about Nothing for the first time, and in our tenth anniversary year, with the superb Mel Giedroyc. I’m very excited to see Mel put her stamp on the role, and it is entirely fitting to have such a popular actress and performer playing Beatrice, something our Founding Artistic Director Sir Peter Hall would have been enchanted by.”
Director, Simon Dormandy commented: “A contemporary Sicilian setting offers the perfect social context for the play: an inflexibly patriarchal world, where daughters still marry as their fathers decree; a world brittle with honour and the law of vendetta; a south-Mediterranean world where a wedding is a major community event, and a shrine is still a place where magical things might just happen. Much Ado About Nothing is more than just funny: it is full of joy, a joy that springs as much from the overcoming of darkness by light – of brutal codes of behaviour by wit, imagination and love – as from wonderful jokes and sublime clowning.”
He added: “Not only a household name for her television presenting and comedy work, Mel is an outstandingly subtle, powerful actor, as well as a very funny one and we’re sure, an unforgettable Beatrice.”
Mel Giedroyc plays Beatrice. Her theatre credits include Luce (Southwark Playhouse), Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour (UK tour), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Playhouse Theatre), Eurobeat (Novello Theatre) and New Boy (Trafalgar Studios). Television credits include The Sound of Music Live, Miranda, Sadie J, Sorry, I’ve Got No Head and The Vicar of Dibley. Presenting work includes Letterbox, The Great British Bake Off, Let It Shine, Horrible Histories, Eurovision Song Contest, Relatively Clever, Mel and Sue Show, The Gift, Now You See It, Collectaholics, Late Lunch and Light Lunch. Radio credits include The 4 O’Clock Show, Count Arthur Strong Series and The Mel & Sue Thing. Giedroyc has also appeared in many comedy television shows including Would I Lie To You?, Big Fat Quiz of The Year, 8 Out of Ten Cats and Richard Ayoade’s Travel Man.
Simon Dormandy directs. His recent work includes an award-winning production of The Hudsucker Proxy, his own adaptation of the Coen Brothers movie, in association with Complicite for the Nuffield, Southampton and Liverpool Playhouse; the UK première of Luce by JC Lee; Julius Caesar for Bristol Old Vic; collaborating with Simon McBurney on The Encounter, recently on Broadway; and two main-house shows at the Arcola – a reimagined Waiting for Godot with a young comic double-act in the leading roles, and the UK première of Eldorado by Marius von Mayenburg, starring Amanda Hale and Sian Thomas, in 2014. He will co-direct his own adaptation of A Passage to India for the Royal and Derngate, Northampton in 2018. His children’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for orchestra and six actors was recently performed by the LPO and Globe Ed at the Royal Festival Hall. As an actor, Dormandy played leading roles with Cheek by Jowl, the RSC, the Donmar, the Old Vic, at many other theatres, as well as on film and TV. Between 1997 and 2012 he taught Drama and English at Eton College.