Much Ado About Nothing is a famous play written by Shakespeare and was originally set in 16th Century Italy, but the New Vic Theatre's take on the play is set during WW2 in England, so overall quite different to the original play. Seeing a different take on this classic was very interesting as it almost felt like a different story, yet it still achieved the charm and snippets of humour to the original...
The play begins as WW2 has just ended and family and friends are reunited. The story then follows the romance of two couples, one falling instantly for each other, while the other battle through their combative 'friendship'. As friends plot romance and villains plot vengeance, everyone's plans seem to collapse in front of them, turning romance into comedic tragedy.
One thing that really stood out to me was how well the play was re-written; for many people(including myself) I know that Shakespearean plays can be hard to follow, however I found this particular adaptation very easy to understand and incredibly funny and charming. This was down to the way in which the play was written but also the incredible performance by the actors. As I have already seen many performances at the New Vic I already knew many of the actors and it was fascinating to see them portray completely different characters to previous performances. Every single actor managed to tell the story of the play in their own way whilst engaging every single member of the audience, making them feel like a part of the play themselves. This was shown in perhaps one of my favourite parts of the play, when Benedict is 'hiding' from the others, he climbs onto a ladder, convincing the audience multiple times that he was falling, yet catching himself every time!
Like many other plays at the New Vic, the actors played a huge part in moving set, meaning that scene and costume changes happened on stage during performance, making transitions more flawless and fascinating to watch. The set itself was beautiful and set the scene perfectly, even before this was highlighted with perfectly timed lighting and sound (such as the animation of planes' silhouettes soaring over the auditorium). As well as the technical side of production, the costume was really what made the play stand out from any other Shakespearean classic. Realistic army uniforms and vintage farm-girl outfits set the time and place of the play so easily for the audience, which were then later contrasted with elegant ballgowns and even wedding dresses!
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the play and found it both incredibly funny to watch as well as extremely heart-warming. If I ever got the chance to watch the play again, I would- it was by far my favourite adaptation of much Ado About Nothing.