Today we have Candice from The Grown-Up YA chatting about different adaptations of Much Ado About Nothing! As I told you guys before, this play has the best adaptations! Enjoy her reviews and clips below and then head over to a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter our giveaway for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!
One of my favorite Shakespeare plays is Much Ado About Nothing. I’ve loved this one since I was young and feel like I get more out of it every time I watch it! My favorite thing about this particular play is the two main characters, Benedick and Beatrice. I’ve always been a fan of witty characters who banter with each other, although wouldn’t surprise me if the reason I loved these types of characters was because of these two!
Today I’m talking about 3 different adaptions of this play, all of which I encourage you to go watch! I’ve focused on the two main characters, Benedick and Beatrice, and about how great I found these performances to be!
Much Ado About Nothing (2012) – Joss Whedon version
When I heard my favorite director was going to be adapting my favorite play starring my favorite TV couple I swear I squealed for DAYS. I literally became the ultimate fan girl. What made this one even better is that it is chock full of Whedon-esque actors.
With a modern day setting and only minimal changes, I was very glad to see that this adaptation stuck to the original play. At first I might have had a teensy bit of trouble separating Benedick and Beatrice from Wesley and Fred, but after a little while that went away. The film definitely has that indie, college film student, foreign film vibe going on but I thought that just added oh so much to the story.
One thing I did notice about the portrayals in this adaptation was that it was very somber at times. While in other adaptations the interactions between these two characters are active and almost border-line comedic, I felt this one took on a darker tone and certain lines felt like a punch in the gut. There was a little back story created between Benedick and Beatrice, so hearing some of their dialogue changed the meaning from light banter to pain-tinged arguments.
Much Ado About Nothing (2011) – Wyndham Theatre/DigitalTheatre.com Version (aka Doctor Who edition)
Now for some more fangirling! Did you know that there is a Doctor Who edition of Much Ado About Nothing? Did you? DID YOU?! I didn’t either.
But there is!!!
So maybe it’s not ACTUALLY a Doctor Who edition, but it does star some of my favorite Doctor Who actors! David Tenant and Catherine Tate star as Benedick and Beatrice and honestly these two can do no wrong! This is actually a stage version but you can watch it at DigitalTheater.com (I know I will be!)
I watched a few clips from it and man oh man David Tenant really knows how to stretch his acting legs. While I love how he acts anyway, there is nothing better than when he really gets going. His whole body expresses what he is saying, his facial expressions are top notch, and throw in that Scottish accent and it’s like something magical happens! And Catherine Tate is just phenomenal period. I love her humor and the way she can deliver a line. While I can’t see her as anything but Donna Noble, the little I’ve seen of her as Beatrice was perfectly endearing!
One thing that I think is oh so important to these roles is the chemistry between the two actors. Benedick and Beatrice, while disliking each other, have this perfect chemistry that allows them to banter and bicker flawlessly. It’s a battle of wits, to the death! Tenant and Tate have great chemistry already which I think makes them both perfect for this bantering couple.
And then there’s this scene…
David Tenant never ceases to entertain me!
Much Ado About Nothing (1993) – Kenneth Brannaugh version
I would be absolutely remiss if I didn’t talk about the performance that made me absolutely fall in love with this play, the 1993 film with Kenneth Brannaugh, Emma Thompson and every other popular 90s actor.
Let’s be honest: Kenneth Brannaugh is phenomenal. I have yet to see a role he has played that I have hated. Ditto times a million for Emma Thompson. These two are like the Hollywood dream team in my opinion and their performances as Benedick and Beatrice were spot on.
I love this particular scene. Even though they’re both being pretty scathing to each other, you don’t feel like you’re watching something completely awkward and horrible. It’s like either of them could say something absolutely horrible to you but with the way they said it you would probably laugh and go have a beer with them afterwards.
What strikes most about these two characters is their range as actors. They can both express a myriad of emotions and feelings and thoughts seamlessly. These two characters certainly have a way with words and their tongues are extremely quick; while I’ve never played either role (obviously) I imagine with all those words their meaning can easily be missed. I never felt that Brannaugh nor Thompson let me miss a single thing thanks to their spot on delivery.
This play truly has it all: deception, love, mystery, romance, deception (so much that I listed it twice!), comedy, wit, pain, passion… Out of all Shakepeare’s plays, this one really captured my attention and my heart.