by William Shakespeare.

Noel Coward Theatre 85-88 St Martin’s Lane WC2N 4AU To 27 October 2012.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Thu & Sat 2pm.
Audio-described 8 Sept 2pm, 12 Sept.
Captioned 14 Sept.
Runs 3hr 5min One interval.

TICKETS: 020 7492 1548.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 27 September.

Innocence and experience contrasted as vividly as day and night.
Assassination in Africa, and death prevented in India. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s London transfers of Julius Caesar and Much Ado About Nothing are helping ensure Shakespeare has continents, if not al, the world, for his stage.

Iqbal Kahn’s production provides a setting where traditional English irony is less prominent than normal. And it is sensuously sumptuous, thanks to Tom Piper’s design, placing ornate buildings around a square and Ciaran Bagnall lighting the scene in an array of sunlit days and bright nights. Among Himani Dehlvi’s costumes none is more lusciously elaborate than that in which Amara Khan’s beautiful young Hero goes to her wedding with Claudio. It shimmers, sparkles, radiates colour and is a perfect expression of loveliness and love.

Her first wedding, that is, which leads to her rejection following the lies told about her – her supposed dishonour strikes home far more sharply than usual in this setting.

By the time of her second wedding, when the truth has been established, things have changed. The happy, sheltered Hero initially being prepared for her wedding-day in an area placed close to, and slightly above, the open space where daily business is going on, is now soberly dressed, and has grown from happy daughter and wife-to-be to a more purposeful person aware of life’s nastiness through direct experience, someone more wary and aware she needs to look-out for herself.

Contrasting this lost innocence is the worldly experience and well-developed protective shells of the noticeably older Beatrice and Benedick. Meera Syal is an independently-minded person while Paul Bhattacharjee as Benedick has a directness that may not be as explosively comic as some when love starts changing his behaviour but which, with Syal’s briskness, emphasises the contrast between the older, practical, self-defensive pair, and the young lovers prey to deception and more completely linked on to the community around.

Madhav Sharma has shown Dogberry’s malapropistic tendency from before the start, ticking-off the audience over mobile ‘phones and the like in comically incorrect English. Thankfully, he has Bharti Patel’s Verges, clearly used to being her boss’s minder, to organise him back onto the right track.

Leonato: Madhav Sharma.
Antonio: Ernest Ignatius.
Hero: Amara Karan.
Beatrice: Meera Syal.
Margaret: Chetna Pandya.
Balthasar: Raj Bajaj.
Panditji: Robert Mountford.
Don Pedro: Shiv Grewal.
Don John: Gary Pillai.
Benedick: Paul Bhattacharjee.
Claudio: Sagar Arya.
Borachio: Kulvinder Ghir.
Conrade: Neil D’Souza.
Messenger: Darren Kuppan.
Dogberry: Simon Nagra.
Verges: Bharti Patel.
Maids: Aysha Kala, Anjana Vasan.
George Seacole: Rudi Dharmamingham.
Hugh Oatcake: Muzz Khan.
Francis Seacole: Peter Singh.

Director: Iqbal Khan.
Designer: Tom Piper.
Lighting: Ciaran Bagnall.
Sound: Andrew Franks.
Music: Niraj Chag.
Music Director: Hinal Pattai.
Music Supervisor: Michael Cryne.
Choreographer/Movement: Struan Leslie.
Costume: Himani Dehlvi.
Text/Voice work: Lyn Darnley.
Dialect coach: Zabarjad Salam.
Fights: Kev McCurdy.
Assistant director: Kimberley Sykes.

2012-10-04 13:39:54

ReviewsGate Copyright Protection