Initially presented as part of the 2006 Complete Works Festival at the Swan Theatre in Stratford, Marianne Elliott brought an uproarious production of Much Ado About Nothing to the stage.
Designed by Lez Brotherston, Elliot created a modernised version of Shakespeare’s politically tinged comedy, setting the show in 1950’s Cuba.
The production was praised for its ingenuity and featured movement by Sarah Gorman, sound by Chris Shut, lighting by Neil Austin and original music by Olly Fox who brought a Cuban band to the stage to play 50’s style “big band” tunes.
Starring comedienne and actress, Tamsin Greig as Beatrice, the production was very favourably received, so much so that the production transferred to the West End’s Novello Theatre for an additional month long run.
This version of Much Ado About Nothing ran in rep at the Swan Theatre in Stratford from May – October 2006 and at the Wyndham’s Theatre, London from December 2006 – January 2007.
Cast and Creative
Leonato – Nicholas Day
Don Pedro – Nicholas Day
Claudio – Adam Rayner
Antonio – Leon Tanner
Benedick – Joseph Millson
Beatrice – Tamsin Greig
Balthasar – Yvette Rochester-Duncan
Hero – Morven Christie
Don John – Jonny Weir
Margret – Amy Brown
Borachio – Jamie Ballard
Conrade – Geoffrey Lumb
Verges – Steven Beard
Ursula – Caroline Wildi
Friar Francis – Patrick Romer
Sexton – John Heffernan
Dogberry – Bette Bourne
Members of the Watch – Sam O’Mahony, Curtis Flowers, Christopher Davies, Shane Frater.
Awards and Critical Reception
This production of Much Ado About Nothing won Tamsin Greig her very first Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress at the 2007 ceremony.
Not only did the show win a much coveted Olivier, the critical response was similarly glowing at both the Swan Theatre and the Novello. For example, Guardian critic Michael Billington described Elliot’s production as “joyous” and praised it’s “sexy southern sultriness.”
The Telegraph’s Charles Spencer also highly praised the piece for “gloriously combining sparkling wit and emotional depth.”