This summer, award-winning theatre company Antic Disposition will present Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy Much Ado About Nothing in seven of England’s most beautiful cathedrals. The tour will conclude at London’s historic Gray’s Inn Hall – one of the few remaining original Shakespearean venues, having hosted the first recorded performance of The Comedy of Errors in 1594.
Set in a sun-drenched French village celebrating the new peace of 1945, Antic Disposition’s Much Ado About Nothing draws its inspiration from the beloved films of French comic genius Jacques Tati (Jour de fête; Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot; Mon Oncle). Combining the verbal fireworks of Shakespeare’s wittiest play with sharp physical comedy, this production is set to a score of live music and songs of the period.
Performed by a talented company of actors and musicians from both sides of the Channel, audiences are introduced to a cast of vibrant and eccentric characters as the peaceful village square of Messina becomes the battlefield for the ‘merry war’ between Beatrice and Benedick, whose love-hate relationship forms the comic heart of the play.
Antic Disposition’s Much Ado About Nothing will be staged at seven ancient cathedrals across England, including Ely, Gloucester, Peterborough, Ripon and Wakefield, as well as Southwell and Beverley Minsters. For its special London run of fifteen performances at Gray’s Inn Hall, the sixteenth-century wood-panelled hall will be transformed into a French village square, including pétanque court, local bar, and the opportunity to watch the story unfold from on-stage café tables complete with questionable waiter service.
Directors Ben Horslen and John Risebero comment: One of the many joys of our recent production of Henry V was working with the supremely talented dual-nationality cast of British and French actors. It was an incredibly rewarding process and we all learnt so much from the experience. We are very excited to be approaching our new production of one of Shakespeare’s sunniest comedies in the same spirit of Anglo-French collaboration.
Peter Brook Award-winning theatre company Antic Disposition, founded by director Ben Horslen and director/designer John Risebero, is best known for presenting innovative and visually striking productions of classic plays and stories in spectacular historic buildings. Recent productions include The Comedy of Errors in Gray’s Inn Hall; Richard III and Romeo and Juliet in Temple Church; A Christmas Carol in Middle Temple Hall; and Henry V, which recently toured many of the UK’s finest cathedrals marking the centenary of the First World War and Shakespeare400.