Everybody Dance Now
It is true what they were saying at the Q and A, 'Much Ado' fits so naturally into a contemporary Indian setting, it was like it was written for this cast and crew. Like the great bard was there in the rehearsal room, moulding the script to get the most emotion out of it audience. There was laughter and tears as the comedy tickled our very souls and tragedy pulled forcefully at our hearts. Least to say, I was impressed! You are thrust into their world, where elders in the family are loved and respected,y and the younger generation poke fun, tease and taunt.
The cast should be led by Beatrice, played by Meera Syal and Benedick, played by Paul Bhattacharjee and in parts, it is. Both actorsí razor sharp delivery of Shakespeare's tongue in cheek insults can only be compared to the final set that resulted in Andy Murray's US Open win. The audience dart their eyes back and forth as the secret love birdís tongues work faster than our minds ever could. But, like many comedies of the time, it is the faithful household staff that coaxes the most laughter from the audience. Not enough praise is given to those in the background and the directorís attention to detail, so here it is, you guy - good job!
The design and technical team can also be forgotten amongst rave reviews for the merit of actors or criticism of the director not working hard enough. This production truly transported us to that culture. Lighting that would make any rocker jealous and a set that goes above and beyond the call of duty of providing 'a couple of hiding spaces'. It is a bright colourful feast for the eyes and Shakespeare's text which can be called a treat for the ears. For me personally, I preferred the live band that provided music and song that complimented the theme and tone of the scene.
After hearing him talk at the Social Media Call, it is clear that director, Iqbul Kahn, had a deep understanding of the cogs that drive a Shakespearean production and the culture in which he has chosen to set it. You are warmly welcomed to their world as the character talk openly and frankly to the audience in the most casual and natural manner. The urge to get up and dance was over whelming. After this performance, it'll be hard to see 'Much Ado ' done in any other way.
To check out my video, go to Next Dramatic Stepís facebook page.