By Hannah Forsyth
“I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.”
And so begins Much Ado About Nothing, one of Shakespeare’s best loved comedies. It’s a tale of bickering lovers, deception and professional incompetence that has captured the imaginations of audiences for centuries. Back in 1640, one poet remarked that “let but Beatrice and Benedick be seen, lo in a trice, the Cockpit, Galleries, Boxes, all are full” – a testament to the enduring popularity of the story and its myriad plotlines.
It’s getting a new lease of life this summer as Not Cricket Productions bring their brand new production to several venues around Yorkshire. Rooted firmly in 1918, at the conclusion of the First World War, it follows the story of a group of officers returning from the front and the romances and schemes they hatch while they enjoy their newfound freedom. With the relief of victory and increasing prosperity, the characters are swept along on a tide of optimism and passion that has some rather unfortunate consequences later in the play.
There are changes to reflect the updated period – Verges, played by Grace Wood, has filled the shoes of men abroad fighting to help with local law and order. She is frustrated by the incompetence of her superiors and her inability to make her voice heard due to the attitudes of the men around her. Similarly, inspired by the stories of Captain Flora Sandes and Muriel Thompson, the officers are led by a female Don Pedro who has spent the war proving her aptitude for military leadership while the fight for women’s voting rights recommences back in Britain. The action is accompanied by a set of well known British songs from the 1910s, in original arrangements by Kosi Carter and Alex Scott.
Not Cricket Productions have a commitment to performing classic texts and stories in a way that makes them accessible and enjoyable for a wider audience. With a clear, familiar setting and a commitment to family-friendly entertainment, this production is suitable for anyone who fancies an afternoon of intrigue, romance and laughter in some of Yorkshire’s most picturesque venues.
Much Ado About Nothing is being performed from June 29th – July 2nd at:
Thursday 29th June, 2pm & 7pm – The Quiet Place, The University of York
Friday 30th June, 7pm – Rowntree Park, York
Saturday 1st July, 7pm – The Community Centre Garden, Wilberfoss
Sunday 2nd July, 2pm & 7pm – Castle Gardens, Malton
For more information and tickets, please go to http://simplyspiffing.co.uk/whats-on