2013 Toronto Fringe Festival: Much Ado About Nothing

Shakespeare BASH'd makes merry at the Toronto Fringe Festival

Presented by Shakespeare BASH'd
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Eric Double

The cast of Much Ado About Nothing. Photo by James MacDonald.

After a sold-out run at the 2012 Toronto Fringe (their production of The Taming of the Shrew was selected for Best of Fringe), Shakespeare BASH'd is back at this year's festival with a fun-loving production of Much Ado About Nothing, on stage now at the Victory Café. 

A 20th century take on Shakespeare's Elizabethan-era comedy, the production is styled as a post-war homecoming party circa 1945, and the audience is welcomed into the intimate bar space (the house of Leonato, governor of Messina) to the tune of victory songs such as "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."

Much Ado About Nothing tells the story of two pairs of lovers: Claudio (Kyle Purcell) falls madly in love with Leonato's daughter Hero (Elisabeth Lagerlof), while his friend Benedick (James Wallis), distainful of marriage, engages in a "merry war" with Hero's sharp-tongued cousin Beatrice (Amelia Sargisson). Benedick and Beatrice are outwardly at odds with each other, but of course they are very much in love on the inside. Alas, in true Shakespearean fashion, it takes trickery, deceit and near-death to bring them together. 

At 90 minutes, Shakespeare BASH'd presents a fast-paced and accessible version of this famous love story. Featuring live music, wonderful costumes by Alexsandra Marzocca, and set and prop design by Hanna Puley, the energetic production brings the audience into the action of the play with much success. Director Eric Double gets fine performances out of the talented cast, especially from the leads Wallis and Sargisson (who channels a fiesty young Lauren Bacall in this role). Another exciting offering from a company that clearly gets Shakespeare and wants to share his works in fresh and interesting ways.

Much Ado About Nothing runs until July 14 at the Victory Café (581 Markham Street). Visit fringetoronto.com for more information.

Next up for Shakespeare BASH'd: a new production of Romeo and Juliet at 3030 Dundas West in The Junction (November 19-22 at 8pm).

Show Dates: 
Thu, 2013-07-04 - Sun, 2013-07-14
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