Much Ado About Nothing: William Shakespeare

Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing

★★★★

(Antic Disposition at Gray’s Inn Hall, 21 August 2018)

There will be a number of theatrical posts over the next few days, for two reasons: first, I have seen an awful lot of plays recently and, secondly, I still have to catch up with some plays I saw earlier in the summer. Fortunately, they’re all terribly good. This is one post, however, that’s pretty quick off the mark: it was only this week that I went to Gray’s Inn Hall to see the ever-brilliant Antic Disposition and their current production of Much Ado About Nothing. The company always performs their plays in France over the summer before coming to London and that’s had two important influences on their reading of Shakespeare’s delicious romantic comedy. They’ve adopted a mixed French and English cast for Much Ado, with some familiar faces from the blended cast of their magnificent Henry Vand Messina moves from Sicily to become a small French village, just after the end of the Second World War. The stage is set for love, longing and a merry entente cordiale, as romance blossoms over a lazy postwar summer.

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The Comedy of Errors: William Shakespeare

Errors keith higinbotham and andrew venning in antic disposition-s the comedy of errors

★★★★

(Antic Disposition, Grays Inn Hall, until 1 September 2016)

A year on from Henry V, Antic Disposition turn their sights on another of Shakespeare’s plays, this time the considerably less familiar Comedy of Errors. As you all know, I do like my Shakespeare, but I’d neither read nor seen this play before and had little idea of what to expect. However, I always know that I’m in for a good show where this company are concerned and they outdid themselves here, turning this zany comedy of mistaken identities into a riotous farce, peppered with sultry musical numbers and with a setting best described as a blend between Some Like It Hot and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

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Henry V: William Shakespeare

Henry V

★★★★★

(Antic Disposition at Temple Church, 25 August 2015)

One of the great things about living in London is the chance to see smaller theatre companies putting on plays in unusual spaces, and this was a great example. I’ve been on Antic Disposition’s mailing list since I was bowled over by their magnificent Tempest in Middle Temple Hall some years ago, and when I heard they were taking on Henry V in the evocative spaces of Temple Church, I couldn’t resist.

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The Tempest: William Shakespeare

The Tempest: William Shakespeare

★★★★

(Antic Disposition, Middle Temple Hall, 20 August – 3 September 2011)

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. ‘She didn’t go to see The Tempest again?!’ Well, yes; I did. Yesterday, while browsing Google in search of other reviews of the Haymarket production, I stumbled across a website for this version also currently being performed in London. I liked the sound of the young and independent theatre company, Antic Disposition (founded in 2005), and was impressed by the reviews of their previous Shakespeare productions. Plus, they were performing The Tempest at Middle Temple Hall, the glorious Elizabethan dining hall of one of the Inns of Court, where Twelfth Night received its very first performance.

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