The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
June 20, 21, 22 & 23, 2012.
Much Ado About Nothing
by William Shakespeare
Graham Till – Leonato [a provincial guvnor]
Tony Brownings – Antonio [his brother]
Sophie Lane – Hero [his daughter]
Amy Curtis – Beatrice [his niece]
Charlie Blandford – Margaret
Isi Fink – Ursula
…visitors from Pedro’s
James Doyle – Don Pedro [a big-time guvnor]
Kevin Isaac – Balthasar [his runner]
Tom Harris – Claudio
Guy Steddon – Benedick
James Dubois – Don John [bastard brother of Pedro]
Frank Leon – Conrad
John Garland – Borachio
…from the Town
Mark Best – P.C. Dogberry
Richard Bulling – P.C. Verges
Judith Berrill – Patrol Leader
Zoey Attree – Dusty
Katie Piper – Lulu
Anna Quick – Cilla
Natalie Notley – Frances [the Vicar]
James Dubois – Blake [the Sexton]
Stage Manager – Martin Oakley
Deputy Stage Manager – Hem Cleveland
Lighting – Jordan Harvey
Sound – Jack Hudson
Wardrobe – Cherry Briggs
Wardrobe – Margaret Pierce
Wardrobe – Zoey Attree
Props Manager – Caroline Woodley
Set – David Comber
Set – Carl Gray
Set – David Collis
Set – Sue Chaplin
Set – Martin Oakley
Set – Sheila Neesham
Set – Margaret Davy
Poster Design – Judith Berrill
Publicity – Anna Quick
Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Publicity – Lucien Bouchy
Publicity – Rosemary Brown
Front of House – Betty Dawes
Programme Note #1: Much Ado About Nothing
BR wrote: “This marvellous play, probably first performed around 1598, has been hugely popular ever since. In many ways it feels very modern – Beatrice and Benedick are a model for the kind of ‘screwball’ romantic comedy now so familiar in the movies. In other ways, though, it foreshadows the kind of ‘problem plays’ which Shakespeare was to go on to write. Amid the comedy, there are some dark shadows around the plot to discredit the innocent bride-to-be, Hero. Most of the male characters [though not Benedick] are quick to believe the trumped-up charges against Hero, and hypocritical in condemning her. On the whole, the women in the play have much more humanity and common-sense than the men. So we are pleased that, in our production, Friar Frances and the all-female Watch take special credit for discovering the error and wickedness of men, and for getting things put right!
It has been a real pleasure working with an enthusiastic and talented team of actors and production crew who have brought Much Ado to life. It’s great to welcome five new members, in our cast of 20, who are making their début with Wick at The Barn. And it’s also very heartening that a further five members of the cast originally worked with our youth wing, Young Wick. We hope you enjoy the production as much as we’ve enjoyed preparing it!”
Note: This is the 20th show which Bob Ryder has directed for Wick. His previous Shakespeare productions at The Barn were Twelfth Night , Romeo and Juliet , A Midsummer Night’s Dream , As You Like It  and Richard lll ”
Review #1: Much Ado About Nothing
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: June 28 2012
Reviewer: Sheena Campbell
Text Header: A favourite from the Bard updated proves to be a hit
RELUCTANT lovers and misunderstandings abounded in Wick Theatre Company’s latest production. It could easily be the plot of a modern romantic film but the cast were actually performing Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, set in the 1960’s.
Modern adaptations of Shakespeare can be incongruous with reactions seeming out of context but in this case it worked well – particularly the casting of the different factions as mods and rockers.
For those who don’t know the plot, Don Pedro (James Doyle), plays matchmaker to Hero (Sophie Lane), and Claudio (Tom Harris). They all then conspire to pair up Beatrice (Amy Curtis) and Benedick (Guy Steddon) but Don Pedro’s illegitimate brother, Don John (James Dubois) plans to throw a spanner in the works.
Guy Steddon, as Benedick, was in his comic element as the confirmed bachelor shocked to find himself in love. His facial reactions and lightning quick banter with Amy Curtis, a Beatrice, were the highlights of the play. Their ongoing fight for control of their changing relationship showed how, when done well, Shakespeare can be as relevant today as it was when it was written. Amy had a tough job, having some of the quickest dialogue of the play, but she carried it off with style.
Sophie Lane was suitably innocent as Hero and relative-newcomer, Isi Fink, could well be one-to-watch in the future having shone as her maid, Ursula.
The hypocrisy of most of the male characters in their condemnation of Hero was also handled well by James Doyle and Tom Harris. In a matter of minutes they transformed their characters from ebullient worshippers to unseeing condemners. Graham Till’s portrayal of Hero’s father was both comic and pathetic as he was led by the powerful men around him, both in deeds and thoughts.
As the play took a darker turn with Hero betrayed, light relief was provided by the Watch, PC Dogberry (Mark Best) and PC Verges (Richard Bulling).
A quick final mention for the set designers – I liked the windows!
Review #2: Much Ado About Nothing
Publication: Brighton Argus
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Barrie Jerram
Not being a great lover of productions that Shakespeare’s plays out of period and update them, I was pleasantly surprised to find the decision to set the action in the 1960s works reasonably well. It certainly allows scope for director Bob Ryder to exercise his imagination and produce plenty of inventive touches.
While most of these are successful, there are a couple of touches that did not work for me. The substitution of swinging disco dancing in place of the masked costume ball is a mistake that proves to be embarrassing and detracts from the dialogue. Also the introduction of a Dansette record player and a Juke Box Jury into one of the scenes is a gimmick too far.
Much of the play concentrates on the merry battle of wits between Benedick and Beatrice, a couple with a history of pretended antipathy, who are tricked into declaring their love. Great comedy comes during their respective eavesdropping scene – Guy Steddon displays a wonderful drollness hidden inside a Punch and Judy tent while Amy Curtis lurks behind wayward beach umbrella.
The production is full of knockabout humour, particularly with the Night Watch under the command of the ignorant and sadistic PC Dogberry. An ingenious and hilarious piece of invention is the conversion of a police officer into a Z car.
The acting is of a high standard with many fine performances that it would be totally unfair to single out any individual ones. All are to be congratulated.