(W. Shakespeare) (1598)
(Dir. Kenneth Branagh) (1993)
(Dir. Megan Dansie) (Theatre Guild, 2 May 2015)
This is not the Bard’s best comedy but it endures as pure rollicking farce, with Beatrice and Benedick as a prototype Martha and George from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? TVC quite likes the Kenneth Branagh film with him and ex wife Emma Thompson as the leads, staged in Tuscany with a roving, loving camera. And on Saturday last, we walked our pleurisy into the night and caught the nice production at the Adelaide Theatre Guild. Bronwyn Palmer and Adam Tuominen starred as the verbally-crossed lovers with good support from, in particular, Tony Busch as Leonato and Steve Marvanek as his stoic brother Antonio. Olivia Lilburn was a very fetching Hero.
Despite an incongruous affection for setting Shakespeare in or about WWII (as the same Director did for Richard III), and a frenetic pace in the discourse (à la His Girl Friday) that tends to fracture the verse, this is good fun if not taken seriously. The toe-tapping, Strictly Come Dancing finale proved this production got into the right spirit.
“O, what men dare do! what men may do! what men daily do, not knowing what they do!”