Much ado about nothing review

This is my Silver Arts Award review of the RSC's 2022 production of 'Much ado about nothing'. I am learning sound and lighting skills for my challenge, so I have focused on these in my review.

Much ado about nothing review

What was the title of the exhibition/show?

Much Ado About Nothing

Why did you choose to attend this exhibition/show?

I was invited, I needed to go for my arts award and I wanted to see a new spin on a Shakespeare play.

Who were the artists and what do they create?

The Royal Shakespeare Company who are an acting company, and they created a rendition of much ado about nothing. The lighting director was Azusa Ono and  the sound design director was Claire Windsor.

What did you see?

We saw a reinterpretation of Much Ado About Nothing by the RSC. It was the same storyline, but set in a futuristic African timeline. There was also performed live music and singing, which is not in the original. It was much more lively and exciting than the traditional version, with much more extravagant costumes, props were replaced with futuristic versions, (wedding rings, weapons and more). Most characters were played by black actors, and some characters were gender swapped, which was done because all the female characters in the play are very submissive, and the director wanted to show that female characters are as strong as male characters.

What were your first impressions

My first impressions of the play were that it was loud, very different from how it traditionally performed (except the script), as the costumes/set were different, some of the characters' genders were swapped, and there was much more music.

Did you find anything particularly interesting to you personally?

I found it interesting how light was used in the play: normal white light was never used, instead the stage was lit up with different colours representing different moods/where the set is meant to be. Those being red representing sadness, light pink representing love, yellow representing the set being outside and purple and dark blue representing the set being in a party. I also liked how they used a smoke machine to make light more pronounced and scatter less. The sound was interesting as well; different sound effects represented places, those being birdsong representing outside, and music during a party. Some of the music was performed live, with some of the cast singing as well as a small brass band accompanying previously composed music. There were no sound effects, it was only music and atmosphere.

What did you learn which will help you to achieve your challenge?

I learnt about how you can use smoke to make light more focused, how you could mix live music with prerecorded, and how you don't necessarily need to use pre-recorded sound effects in theatre.

Did you enjoy the experience overall? Why?

I mostly enjoyed the experience, as the set design was interesting, the acting was good, and I liked how they adapted the story. I think that they used lighting as much as they could in this play, which added to the enjoyment.

Header Image Credit: Ikin Yum (c) RSC

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Jacob Raymond

Jacob Raymond

I'm doing my Silver arts award

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  • Jacob Raymond

    On 15 March 2022, 20:58 Jacob Raymond commented:

    It was a jazz band, not a brass band! I can't see how to edit my post.

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