Man is a giddy thing and the world must be peopled! This year’s Framlingham College production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ produced a vibrant and fresh interpretation that entertained and provoked its audiences over three nights in the Headmaster Porter Theatre.
Watching Putin dance with Prince Charles at a party to Robbie William’s ‘Party Like a Russian’ on top of a stadium-style performance of tuxedoed men preening and posing in the style of the Overtones gives an indication of the mischief and fun the cast presented in this performance directed by Head of Drama, Dorothy Englert.
Putting this performance on a traverse the length of a tennis court with stages at both ends, it was impressive to see students romping home with Shakespeare’s language whilst confidently and deliciously conveying the physical comedy of the play.
Dominic Weatherby was outstanding in the role of Benedick and he was ably matched by the indomitable Ella Hamilton-Wright whose Beatrice knew just where to hit him where it hurts. Joe Lipman, as the easily-swayed lover Claudio, did indeed dance like a Russian and Joanna Maberly playing the sweetest Hero broke hearts with her poised and devastating collapse on her wedding day. Lara Haddon was striking as the long-suffering wife of Leonato, Antonia. Still and statuesque she turned on Claudio and Don Pedro with an excoriating and focused rage that moved the audience.
For Angel Nweze it was her first performance on stage and she gave the audience a real treat with her sassy, kick-ass, Dogberry. Rhys Pearson-Shaul played the compromised Leonato with depth and conviction whilst Oscar Welsh once again reveals that he is a master of comic timing and knocked the language out of Shakespeare with his impassioned call for calm as the Army Chaplain presiding over the horror of the calamitous wedding. The two Aragon brothers Don Pedro (Archie Goodhead) and his hateful brother, Don John (Rupert Vaughan) were impressive. Aine Craig, Charlotte Mears, Grace Bowden, Eleanor Peteram, Robert Monaghan and Joss Easey performed with conviction, pace and, at times, hilarity and all enhanced by terrific dance choreography from Katie Crossley.
This production whets the appetite for enjoying a third outing for Fram Drama at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.
Framlingham College Headmaster, Paul Taylor, said, “I so enjoyed this play. It was a really brave production that was performed with real conviction, great timing (particularly comic) and, at times with real intimacy. It was also very funny (when it was meant to be!) – and that is no mean feat to pull off with school Shakespeare productions.”