Well what a treat on TV last night. I just knew I was going to enjoy the first of the four modern adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays (done by the BBC after their very successful Chaucer ones). Much Ado About Nothing is, for me, one of his best comedy plays (the other being Twelfth Night) and as it had two of my very favourite actors playing Beatrice and Benedict I just knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. I loved every minute of it and was surprised how well it adapted to the modern setting of a regional TV news station. Pressed the red button for the interactive stuff afterwards too and that was fascinating – thank God for the digi-box.
I was trying to recollect when I first saw Much Ado so I dug out my programme collection. I remembered seeing it at the old Victoria Theatre in Stoke when we came from Mansfield on an evening visit organized by the Art College (who would have thought then that I’d actually come and live in Stoke?) I also knew I’d seem it at Stratford with Judi Dench as Beatrice and Donald Sinden as Benedict. Sure enough I found the programme – it was in 1976 (shock, horror that's nearly 30 years ago) and other actors were Cherie Lunghi as Hero plus, Bob Peck, Robin Ellis, Ivan Beavis and Ian McDairmid.
Of course, the old Vic was replaced by the new one and we are off there on Saturday to see the Northern Broadsides production of School for Scandal. We really enjoyed seeing the company earlier this year in Sweet William so when we saw they were coming again we booked straight away.
I must look back to see when I first saw School for Scandal. I know it was at Nottingham Playhouse and I think it was directed by Jonathan Miller – I remember the revolving stage and the exaggerated turned up noses making the actors look like caricatures from a Hogarth painting. I’ll report back on that one.