Shakespeare’s Globe delivers a vibrant and comedic “Much ado about nothing”

London -Shakespeare’s Globe starts its summer season with a vibrant production of one of the Bard’s most beloved comedies. This lively rendition makes the most of the theatre’s open-air charm and its interactive opportunities with the audience. The lively audience at the Globe was welcomed, in a very sunny day, with a sun drenched stage embellished by trees with ripe oranges and colourful flowery decorations. A skilled group of musicians on stage in full costumes playing Mediterranean notes and accompanying the actors masterful singing in a Sicilian dialect, kicked off the already promising and dazzling show.

“Much Ado About Nothing” is known for its drastic tonal shifts. It starts as a lighthearted romantic comedy, following Don Pedro and his soldiers as they stay with Leonato in his picturesque Messina home, highlighted by the sharp exchanges between Benedick and Beatrice, Leonato’s witty niece. However, the mood shifts dramatically in the second half, with false accusations of infidelity against Leonato’s daughter, Hero, her staged death, and vows of revenge.

Sean Holmes, Globe associate artistic director, smartly leans even further into the comedic elements in the first half, a choice that seems paradoxical but works brilliantly. In this production, Hero’s suitor Claudio isn’t just a bland romantic lead. Adam Wadsworth portrays him with delightful, over-the-top bravado, turning him into a childish figure full of exaggerated bluster. Don Pedro’s group resembles a pack of lads on a night out, with their foolish bravado mercilessly exposed. Their attempt to convince Benedick that Beatrice loves him is hilariously portrayed as if they’ve never encountered a woman before.

These exaggerated masculine antics highlight their incompetence when Don Pedro’s brother deceives them into believing Hero has been unfaithful. Grace Smart’s vibrant set, filled with abundant oranges—eaten, discarded, and omnipresent—mirrors Hero’s wedding dress. This citrus motif subtly shifts from a symbol of vitality to one of sour male-dominated rules. However, the transition from comedy to sincerity stumbles slightly after Hero’s public humiliation.

Amalia Vitale shines as Beatrice, brimming with an almost uncontrollable energy as she mocks everyone around her. Her sparring with Ekow Quartey’s Benedick—charmingly awkward and far from suave—features plenty of eye-rolling and plays brilliantly off the audience. While the sense of history between the ex-lovers might be downplayed, their dynamic is electrifying and frequently laugh-out-loud funny.

The ensemble cast enhances the play’s collaborative feel. Jonnie Broadbent is predictably hilarious as the overly officious Dogberry, while Holmes’s astute direction adds depth to some of the play’s more ambiguous moments. Ryan Donaldson’s Don Pedro delivers his sudden marriage proposal to Beatrice with genuine gravitas. Meanwhile, John Lightbody’s portrayal of Leonato brings a fresh perspective to the social hierarchy, especially in his annoyance when realizing it’s Claudio, not the prince, who seeks to marry Hero.

Overall, this production of “Much Ado About Nothing” is a refreshing, energetic take on a Shakespearean classic, successfully blending broad comedy with the play’s darker undertones.

The performance started on the 5th of July and will show till the 24th of August 2024

To book a ticket visit:

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Francesca Lombardo is a freelance journalist. She holds a Master's degree in journalism from the LCC of London and her articles has been published by the Financial Times, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, The Herald, Sunday Express, Daily Express, Irish Independent, The Sunday Business Post, A Place in the Sun, Ryanair Magazine, Easyjet Magazine, CNBC magazine, Voyager magazine, Portugal Magazine, Travel Trade Gazette, House Hunter in the sun, Homes Worldwide and to Italian outlets, Repubblica, D Repubblica, L'Espresso, Il Venerdì, Vogue, Vogue Uomo, Vogue Casa, GQ, Il Sole 24 Ore, F Magazine, TU Style, La Stampa, "A", Gioia. Francesca Lombardo has trained at the business desks of the Sunday Times, Daily Mail and Daily Express. She has authored a children's book series titled Beatrice and the London Bus. website:

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