Analysis Of Josie Rourke's Much Ado About Nothing

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Josie Rourke’s modern stage adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing is renowned for

the hilarious reunion of the Doctor Who costars: David Tennant and Catherine Tate,

whose chemistry is mesmerizingly brilliant and inevitable from the moment the two

step on the stage. As said by the Guardian: “Tennant and Tate sparkle in Much Ado,”

it is this sort of partnership that really enraptures an audience, the choice of pairing

being one of the main highlights of the exceptional replication of the 16th century

classic.

The play centers Beatrice (Tate) and Benedick (Tennant), the disputatious lovers,

who hold a reputation for being unapparent to the love that they clearly share for

each other, going along with repartee, oblivious to the
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The extravagant juxtaposition between the Shakespearean play and the Josie

Rourke version ‘time travels’ David Tennant fans back to the age of Doctor Who.

Rourke’s inspiration to place the characters in early 1980s Gibraltar, which is known

for constant drinking, partying and members of the navy who seem to have far too

much time on their hands; alongside the themes apparent in the play are very much

familiar to a contemporary viewer: infidelity and the denial of love presented by

Beatrice and Benedick, making it an obvious choice to set the remake of the famous

Shakespearean comedy in a modern and well established society. Although this

drastic change in location and time period may seem overwhelming and unexpected,

Rourke still keeps the performance grounded to its Shakespearean roots, the

consistent use of iambic pentameter and meter demonstrates this.

It can be argued that the Tennant and Tate version is clearly mocking the

Elizabethan societies traditional views, however, I feel Rourke only enhanced
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The stage design gives the impression of the characters being in two separate

rooms, the positioning of blocks and pillars helps again to demonstrate this. This

intricate attention to detail enables the performance to be compared so similarly to

the movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic, although the ‘big screen’ enables

more room for a fast change in setting and shots, Rourke does a phenomenal job

trying to create this illusion which works so brilliantly.

The night before the wedding or you could refer to it as the ‘stag and hen do’ was an

unexpected twist that the audience definitely did not see coming. Again, the revolving

stage was used to represent the divide between the women and the men and to

compensate for the lack of space that the stage could carry. This incredibly

humorous idea, of the stag and hen night before the wedding, gives the audience a

clear and simple over view of the lifestyles present in the 1980s, as characters

throughout the play give out continuous hints regarding: sexual references, alcohol

and sexism, which could have been a personal choice by Rourke to present

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