Ado About Nothing
by William Shakespeare
Bard on the Beach
June 3-September 26
Now running three plays on two stages, with sold-out houses nearly
every night, Bard on the Beach is one of Vancouver’s great
theatrical success stories. Its 15th season opener, Much
Ado About Nothing, playing in the large tent at Vanier Park, guarantees Bard
another wildly popular Shakespearean hit. It’s a sweet summer
confection grounded in just enough underlying bitterness to satisfy
Director Michael Shamata, who gave us the vivacious Hello Dolly!
and Fiddler on the Roof at the Playhouse, and Comedy of Errors
at last year’s Bard, shows again why he’s become a
Vancouver favourite. Shamata provides a stylish 1940s setting for
the witty duel of reluctant lovers Beatrice and Benedict, and the
Claudio-Hero subplot of young love nearly foiled by malicious misogyny.
Silver cigarette cases, the strains of “Begin the Beguine,” and
Mara Gottler’s gorgeous period costumes complement a wonderful
ensemble and snappy, if sometimes shamelessly silly blocking, to
make this a delicious comic treat.
Kerry Sandomirsky steals the show as tough, sexy Beatrice, who “had
rather hear my dog bark at a cow than a man swear he loves me.” Of
course she melts when confirmed bachelor Benedict swears that he
does. Andrew Wheeler’s Benedict is a little stiff and chilly,
but his collapse into hopeless love (“the world must be peopled,” he
rationalizes) is also very funny. Christopher Gaze has so much
fun playing the malapropistic constable Dogberry that he should
be arrested. Gerry Mackay’s subtly melancholy Prince and
Russell Roberts as the father of slandered Hero highlight the first-rate
When the sun sets during the second act and the lights of the
north shore mountains come up on the most spectacular natural backdrop
to any theatre anywhere, you get the full Bard experience.