The Library Theatre last tackled a Shakespeare production over six years ago. If the great audience reception for the Bard's most romantic of comedies, Much Ado About Nothing on the night I went is anything to by, the company should not wait as long next time. This highly proficient piece may not be original in terms of style but it more than makes up for that via the juxtaposition of comedy and tragedy which is exquisitely done here.
The tale is set in Messina and there is cause for celebration as the soldiers return home. Love is in the air, as the beautiful Hero falls for the dashing Claudio. Alongside these young lovers are the older, wiser and funnier Beatrice and Benedick. These two sparring partners engage in verbal bouts, the wittier one being the most victorious. Like the most modern of rom-com characters, this behaviour disguises the fact that they are as well suited as the younger pair. Enter Don Pedro, a convincing cad who disrupts the love match and hence the narrative. The party atmosphere is swiftly followed by heartache.
Judith Croft's dreamy design sets the tone of this affectionate battle of the sexes. The whole cast handle the diction brilliantly, there is not one weak performer here. Erin Brodie is delightful as Hero, whilst David Gyasi is also excellent as her strong husband to be. David Crellin fares better as the fumbling fool Dogberry than he does in his other role as Don John. Christopher Wright delivers his lines with aplomb as a charming Don Pedro.
Lucy Tregear and Peter Lindford, so good in the Library's The Real Thing last year, prove yet again that they can both efficiently deliver their lines like speeding bullets, gaining maximum laughter from every situation. David Peart provides this frenetically paced play with its heart in a lovely well judged turn. Chris Honer injects this wonderful comedy with the pace it deserves, hence the first act whizzes by leaving the audience aching with laughter. This contrasts perfectly with the tragic circumstances that become evident following the interval.
Honer's version of Much Ado is likely to receive much acclaim and you will leave the theatre feeling very pleased with yourself for seeking out such a lovingly crafted play.