Such Stuff Productions Presents: Much Ado About Nothing!

By Rylea Conlon

After the wild success of their 2021 production of Hamlet, ‘Brilliant Production – transports us into the midst of this tragic tale – an extraordinary feat ” Hamlet, 2021 review.” Such Stuff Productions readies to release their latest Shakespearean adaptation ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ filled with love, betrayal, friendship and heartbreak!

Under the wonderful direction of Paul Kininmonth ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ takes all of the much loved elements within this classic tale and transports them into the modern world to create a fantastic new blend of classic Shakespeare and modern themes.

Premiering in Sydney this February, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ takes place during a bright and vivid music festival set in Balmain. This comedic tale has been transported into modern world where the audience is able to immediately recognise and relate to both setting and theme creating the perfect middle ground between audience, stage and actor. ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, while dismissing typical stereotypes around modernising Shakespeare, has also set to implement the fun and joy of music within the festival to compliment the riveting story. The production sees live music played on stage featuring the songs of the much loved Leonard Cohen and his famous music (Who By Fire etc) combining the storytelling of both Shakespeare and Cohen to create a culmination of the storytellings of both bards. Dance, music and fun is set to shower the production continuing to provide a modern spin on the classic tale.

Much Ado is set to perform in some fantastic and unorthodox locations heightening the productions audience intrigue and interest. Starting with the beautiful gardens at Mahratta School of Philosophy in Wahroonga Much Ado will be performed in some fantastic venues. The gorgeous outdoor garden space at Wahroonga is set to make for a wonderful afternoon of Shakespeare and sun followed by the star venue attraction Scotland Island. Theatre on the island presents a wonderful novelty surrounded by sun, nature and the sea. What better way to enjoy Shakespeare than surrounded by the fantastic views on Scotland Island.  In addition to this the Such Stuff players will also be performing at Jaggi’s Regal Garden in Annangrove where the audience is invited to wine, done and enjoy the comedic tale as the actors interact with the audience through the meals. This is set to be a fantastic performance breaking stereotypes around how theatre can and should be viewed. The grand is set to premiere in Marrickville’s Hellenic Art Theatre where the audience is invited to completely immerse themselves into the storyline and characters within the beautiful theatre space. These venues are guaranteed to provide a fantastic Shakespeare experience.

We had a chat with Paul to get a deeper insight into the workings and ideas behind the production:

How did you choose the adaptation elements for the play, especially the musical component, and why do they work so well for modern audiences?

“Turns out, Shakespeare’s dance and festive scenes within Much Ado About Nothing also make practical and convincing transition points for our modern take on Shakespeare’s text. The masque (a risqué Elizabethan dance form) where most participants wore masks, is a great motif for the play’s themes of desire, deception and disguise – ‘desire, deception and disguise’ – sounds a lot like our times.”

Shakespeare uses masks within his masque dance, to signify the deception and disguise (and the ‘dance’) that we play out around courtship, and in regards to expressing our sexuality – today, masking our true feelings is still the norm. So, little is changed. But for Elizabethans and the masque ritual was their safe-place for getting a little risqué, for shaking off the repression of their society. When it comes to Much Ado about Nothing, the “two bards” fusion of Shakespeare and Leonard Cohen is “not about joining the dots academically. “It’s about looking for resonance between the artists (Cohen and Shakespeare). I’m looking to see parallels between Shakespeare and our lives.” 

“Much Ado About Nothing, a comedy of love and misunderstanding, will prove the point that not a lot changes when it comes to human nature. “Written centuries ago, for today.” 

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