Périgord and Quercy, France
4 – 12 August 2009
St Stephen's, London
24 June – 19 July 2009
The war may be over, but the battle of the sexes
has only just begun…
As peace breaks out, dashing soldier Claudio is quick to propose to the beautiful Hero, but their celebrations are soon threatened by the scandalous rumours spread by the wicked Don John.
Will confirmed singletons Beatrice and Benedick stop sniping at each other long enough to save the day - and perhaps find love themselves, just where they least expect it?
Antic Disposition presents a new production of one of Shakespeare's greatest comedies - a feast of music, romance and verbal jousting that will delight and entertain anyone who's ever been in love.
Ham & High:
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Camden New Journal:
“France, 1945. The war is over, Paris liberated, the Führer toppled and the victorious returning troops of Don Pedro are looking to conquer a new and very different (if just as formidable)
opposition – women.
“Whether in love or out, French or Anglais, this production of Much Ado has a bit of everything.”
“Antic Disposition’s new production certainly isn’t short on charm. Set in St Stephen’s, the beautifully refurbished Victorian church, it’s an inspired choice for the summer.
“Audience members sit along the central aisle on bistro-like tables, watching and eavesdropping as the action swirls around us, showcasing every high arch and gothic nook and cranny of what must be one of London’s most elegant performance spaces.”
"It's the end of the Second World War and summer is upon us. The colossal interior of the newly restored St. Stephen's is a country estate in South West France to be descended upon imminently by victorious soldiers. Evening sunlight streams through the stain glass windows. This is not period Bard on a proscenium stage, but a site specific performance drawing upon the parallels of another time.
"The most riotous moments come from the farcical eavesdropping scenes, most notably where Benedick attempts to conceal himself in vain from the match-making plotters."
"As the gloaming penetrates the stained glass windows, the mood chimes perfectly with the languid air of one of Shakespeare's sunniest comedies, as maidens arrange flowers and men reflect and drink wine."
British Theatre Guide:
"Anouke Brook is a fine Beatrice, displaying an innate ease with Elizabethan English, and capturing the pathos of a woman who, despite her brave face, fears love may have passed her by. Ashley Cook (Benedick) is a perfect foil and has genuine charm.
"The famous arbor scene, where the lovers 'accidently on purpose' hear the secrets of their own hearts, is made fresh by the ingenious use of a trestle table, a vase, and some tall sunflowers.
"The cast is impressive ... Their singing and dancing, led by the mellifluous Sophie Cosson (Margaret) is joyous.
"Jonathan Pembroke and James Pellow manage to elicit laughs from the audience as the (often tedious) Dogberry and Verges: no mean feat.
"Damien Warren-Smith gives a new reading to Don John, conveying a man of mystery and bitterness, perhaps hardened by the war experience.
"But the real star of the show has to be the setting. How delicious it is to discover that the derelict St Stephen's, Hampstead, has been restored to its former gothic grandeur, with cool stone columns and alcoves providing natural entrances and exits, in a similar vein to the Open Air Theatre at Regent's Park. Bathed in early summer evening sunshine we, too, are able to see things in a different light."