This summer, David Tennant and Catherine Tate appear together on stage for the first time in a brand new production of William Shakespeare’s timeless comedy Much Ado About Nothing.
Two young lovers, Claudio and Hero, are to be married imminently but the devious scheming of a resentful Prince looks set to thwart the nuptials. Meanwhile, marriage seems inconceivable for reluctant lovers Beatrice and Benedick whose endless witty sparring threatens to keep them apart forever.
Directed by Josie Rourke, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre, Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s great plays and reminds us all of the failings and triumphs of the human condition in our never ending search for perfect love.
“The chemistry Tennant and Tate established in Dr Who survives in their performances as the disputatious lovers. Tennant, an old hand at Shakespeare, brings a fine mixture of wit, cynicism and sudden love-struck wonder to Benedick, speaks the language with Scottish-accented clarity, and proves highly sympathetic but never ingratiating.”
“Tate gives an excellent account of Beatrice as the kind of larky, high-spirited woman who uses her wisecracking gifts as a defence against emotional engagement: significantly, while Benedick turns up at Leonato’s party in female attire, she comes dressed as a man. I’d only beg Tate to resist a textual change made, presumably, out of political correctness. In the gulling scene Shakespeare’s Beatrice says of Benedick: “I will requite thee, Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.” Tate substitutes “with” for “to” to soften the note of submission: totally unnecessary since there’s no danger of this sparky couple ever being anything other than sexual equals.”
“It would be hard to conceive of a more gloriously engaging portrayal of Benedick than the one David Tennant is now offering in Josie Rourke’s production of Much Ado About Nothing, a staging that transforms Shakespeare’s demobbed soldiers into white uniformed naval officers on shore leave in Gibraltar during the 1980s.”
“There are disco lights, strippers, brilliantly pastichey pop tunes by Michael Bruce, allusions to the 1981 royal wedding, a sex doll and – a personal highlight – some hopeless noodling with one of those cheap little Casio keyboards I coveted as a nine-year-old.”
The Evening Standard
“Shakespeare’s lovely romance is set, here, in the Eighties, in what seems to be Majorca or Ibiza. Benedick (Mr Tennant) and his brother officers are rigged up in the white uniforms of naval types fresh back on shore. Benedick’s non-girlfriend Beatrice (Catherine Tate) is slouchy in the modern way: slack-hipped, sunglasses in her hair, a packet of Camel cigarettes in hand. She is far from likeable.”
The Daily Mail
“Whichever way you slice it, Much Ado has to be charming and beautiful – it’s neither at the Wyndham’s, in this brash and noisy eighties, heavily cut version directed by Josie Rourke, accommodating the warring Benedick and Beatrice of David Tennant and Catherine Tate.”
“The scene in the church, where Benedick declares his love for her is a fundamental turning point in the play. Tennant’s “I do love nothing in the world as well as you, is that not strange” is spoken like a giant sigh, but Tate’s protestations of love are masked by a succession of funny voices – it’s like hearing a love scene spoken by Dick Emery.”