Much Ado About Nothing

Date 13th October 2017
Society The DODS
Venue
Type of Production Play
Director Craig Hewlett

Report

Author: Dee Way

This production was very well organised and well planned, with a lovely big acting space created at the front of the hall as well as onstage. The patterns of movement through the play were well planned with good use of the mixture of entrances and exits.  The Director had taken great care in cutting the play in such a way that the action made total sense.  Thus the action flowed really well from one area to another and from one set of characters to another. Placing the production in 1815 was very apt, as the action, based around soldiers returning from battle, requires a level of enmity between two groups of soldiers. 

The scenery was the same throughout, with only benches moving at times, so that the flow of the drama was almost continuous. The use of two gazebos, one each side of the stage with a stone water fountain between them, was very effective as they formed tents that one could see into.   The addition of ivy, lanterns, columns, background trees and a very blue “sky” set the stage beautifully.  A group of large barrels on the floor, a bench, two lemon trees in pots by the steps and the recordings of cicadas and birds added to the sense of Mediterranean rural life that formed the setting for the play.

Lighting was used to very good effect in creating daytime, evening and night-time, with a large moon projected on the back wall, and in indicating the breaks between some scenes.  The lighting cues were promptly taken and the effects were almost magical, as the lanterns came on in the evening and at night, and the effect of sunset was beautifully portrayed.

The music throughout the production had been carefully considered and chosen – or written – to fit this production.  The addition of the onstage guitar player as a minstrel worked very well, and formed an intriguing addition to the cast.  The sound of the guitar was totally fitting to the period and the setting of the play.  The recorder and guitar together sounded fabulous, while the singing was heartfelt and tuneful.

However, the play was really created by the people onstage.  The opening scene with various activities going on was lovely: the shaving, sowing, gardening and sweeping all added to the sense of tranquil country life, into which the protagonists were thrust.  The other remarkable achievement was the enormous sense of fun throughout the play, with female watchmen being played up to beautifully.  Some outstanding acting by the main characters then created an evening of very entertaining theatre. 

This was a lively and fun production of this well-loved play, with some particularly well-performed roles. The music was innovative and totally fitting, while the lighting, scenery, costumes and sound added enormously to the pleasure of your audience.