Last night I went to my cinema complex to see the 'simulcast' of Much Ado About Nothing which the RSC insist on calling Love's Labours Won. The evidence that 'our Will' titled it thus is thinner than a really, really thin thing and so I will call it by its proper title and thus enjoy the sly word play on "Nothing" which in Shakespeare's day sounded like 'noting'. As you all know - er, you do, do you not? - the entire plot depends on people 'noting' things but getting either completely wrong or completely right.
I am now even more convinced that this is the very greatest comedy 'our Will' ever wrote. For a start it has a genuinely threatening black thread running through it which is exactly right in order to set off the comedy. It confirms my view that 'our Will ' might have used romantic love as a ploy in his plays - one thinks of Romeo and Juliet - but he preferred the love between Beatrice and Benedick based as it was on deep knowledge of each other and a shared sense of humour. Yes, they love each other but more important, they like each other. By and large, liking lasts longer than loving!
It was the same company from the RSC who performed Love's Labours Lost about which I drooled a few weeks ago. Based on those two productions the director, Christopher Luscombe, is the new Trevor Nunn - I can put it no higher! The two leads, Michelle Terry and Edward Bennett, are simply superb. But above all, from both productions I had the very strong sense that here was a team of very intelligent, witty and creative people, on stage and off stage, who had combined their talents to produce two master-pieces.
There are bound to be video-thingies of these two productions, probably direct from the RSC, and I do urge you all to treat yourselves to both of them. Shakespeare and the Royal Shakespeare Company at their very best.