Another Orange Wednesday Review – Much Ado About Nothing *****

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While she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell as in sanctuary, and people sin upon purpose, because they would go thither; so indeed all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follows her.

There have been good Shakespeare adaptations, Romeo + Juliet (Baz Luhrmann, 1997), bad ones, O (Tim Nelson, 2001) and downright confusing ones, Gnomeo and Juliet (Kelly Asbury, 2011) but every once in a while, a director and ensemble come along who pick up the Early Modern source material, and get right to the heart of the matter. Nothing can be truer of Joss Whedon’s Much Ado.

Alexis Denisof (Benedick) and Clark Gregg (Leonato) are, without a doubt, the leads in this star-studded production, which values diction and style as much as emotion and gravitas. However, it is brilliant to see so many great actors cast in both befitting and unexpected roles. Franz Kanz, of Cabin in the Woods fame, is alluring as Claudio; Sean Maher, cold and calculating as Don John the Bastard and a host of fantastic actresses pull the narrative together, from Ashley Johnson (Margaret) to Amy Acker (Beatrice) and Jilian Morgese who positively gleams as Hero.

 while the director was editing the colossal Marvel’s Avengers, a film which currently stands as the third highest grossing movie of all time, this production has a lush art-house feel, with none of the pretence. It boasts a savvy command of character and story and the cast sugar what can be (for some) the bitter pill of seventeenth century language, bringing the charm of Shakespearean love, which always prevails, even when the man of your dreams leaves you for dead.

Overall: ‘Get thee a wife!’ If thou canst, get thee to a cinema and watch this film!

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