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David Tennant & Catherine Tate Star in Much Ado

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David Tennant will return to the stage to star alongside his former Doctor Who sidekick Catherine Tate in Much Ado About Nothing. The pair will play Benedick and Beatrice, theatre’s most famous battling lovers, in the new production of Shakespeare’s comedy, which is directed by Bush artistic director Josie Rourke and runs for a limited season at the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre from 1 June to 3 September 2011 (previews from 16 May).

Two young lovers Claudio and Hero are to be married imminently. but the devious scheming of a resentful prince looks set to thwart the nuptials. Meanwhile, marriage seems inconceivable for reluctant lovers Beatrice (Tate) and Benedick (Tennant) whose endless witty sparring threatens to keep them apart forever.

Much Ado will mark Tennant's first return to the theatrical stage since his Royal Shakespeare Company Hamlet in 2008 (and since handing over the reins of Doctor Who to Matt Smith last year). That Shakespeare production caused a furore in Stratford-upon-Avon, with Doctor Who fans thronging to the stage door daily, but attracted headlines of a different sort when it transferred to London that December and Tennant was forced to miss most of the run due to serious back injury. His shortage of London performances meant he was ineligible for a Laurence Olivier Award, though the production did win a stack of other accolades, including Theatre Event of the Year and Best Shakespearean Production in the Whatsonstage.com Awards.

While now best known to TV fans for his adventures in the Tardis, Tennant launched his career on stage in his native Scotland. His early career also included two seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where his Shakespearean roles included Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Touchstone in As You Like It (for which he won an Ian Charleson Award commendation) and Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors. His many other stage credits in the West End, at the Donmar Warehouse, National, Royal Court and elsewhere, include Lobby Hero (for which he was Olivier and Whatsonstage.com nominated), The Real Inspector Hound, Black Comedy, Hurlyburly, Vassa, Push-up What the Butler Saw, Look Back in Anger and the 2003 premiere of Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman.

Best known for her self-penned BBC TV comedy sketch series The Catherine Tate Show, Tate is also a stage regular. She’s currently starring in Alan Ayckbourn’s Season's Greetings at the National, while her last two West End appearances were in David Eldridge’s Under the Blue Sky and Neil LaBute’s Some Girls. Her other stage credits include A Servant to Two Masters, The Way of the World and The Exonerated, while on screen she’s also been seen in Bleak House, Starter for Ten, Scenes of Sexual Nature, Wild West and Men Behaving Badly.

Much Ado About Nothing is presented by Sonia Friedman Productions, whose first high-profile West End offering of the year, The Children’s Hour starring Keira Knightley and Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss, opens at the Comedy Theatre next month.


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