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We went to the National Theatre to see Much Ado About Nothing last night, with Zoe Wanamaker as Beatrice and Simon Russell Beale as Benedict. 

I thought it was terrific, and I'm so glad we saw it, even if we did manage to get more or less the last two seats in the upper circle which happened to be not next to each other.  The two leads just sparked off each other and their sparring came over as spontaneous and genuinely funny.  Everybody spoke their dialogue as if it was real, and even the Dogberry stuff was made me laugh. 

The director had thought really hard about the physical humour of the play and it all seemed very natural, particularly the bits where the principals are following each other round the set trying to overhear conversations about them, and falling into the swimming pool which I really didn't expect.  [I wouldn't have mentioned this except that the play seems to be at the end of the run, I hope I'm not spoiling it for anyone]. 

The director also took the false accusations against Hero completely seriously, which made me realise quite how close the play is to tilting over into a Romeo-and-Juliet style tragedy.  But here the friar actually saves the day.  Michael and I spent some time discussing whether the Hero part of the plot is completely bonkers, and I think we decided that it was deliberately so, in order to contrast with the more sensible and grown up relationship that Beatrice and Benedict end up with.  Well, maybe sane rather than sensible.


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May 2017

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