Plays about romantic love were a fashionable thing to watch in the 1600’s. The only thing more exciting than observing romantic love with its beautiful verse, was the very convoluted plots that often surrounded the lovers, preventing them from fulfilling this love. Obviously, if you add a villain to thicken the plot, an incompetent keeper of the peace, incapable of keeping anything under control - including himself - then the story becomes more interesting!
Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is one of the finest examples of a romantic comedy. From the very beginning, with two very different aspects of love, the Bard has set us up for an all-consuming exploration into the genre. The hilarious scenes with Dogberry, the highly incompetent citizen- policeman, are iconic in theatre history. This is Shakespeare at his best: a popular social comedy, very finely concealing an acerbic look at the popular love stories that were fashionable at the time.
This full cast, unabridged production from the BBC is an absolute feast of Shakespeare at the peak of his genius and is available as an MP3 audiobook download. David Tennant takes on the role of Benedick and plays it with melodramatic cynicism and slyness. Best known as the 10th incarnation of Doctor Who, Tennant has had a very distinguished career on stage with the RSC, most recently in the much-lauded interpretation of Hamlet. Here he is ably matched by double Olivier award-winning Samantha Spiro as his love-sparring partner Beatrice in what is nothing less than a feast for the ears.