Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare BASH’d) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

Much Ado About Nothing FringeShakespeare BASH’d is back at Fringe this year with another site-specific Shakespeare piece at the Victory Café, this year it’s Much Ado About Nothing.

This incredibly entertaining 90 minute piece is set in a post-war celebration, while maintaining the traditional Shakespearean language people are familiar with. The shortened version doesn’t take away from the original and the changes are barely noticeable.

Many people know the story well. As a child, the film was one of my favourites and I watched it over and over.

If people aren’t familiar with the play, however, they need not worry as they will be able to follow along. The piece flows very nicely and, other than a few line flubs, it feels comfortable and seems natural.

Eric Double’s direction uses the space of the Victory Café to its full potential. In one scene he has Benedict climbing under chairs and over benches. During this scene Benedict (James Wallis) has the most entertaining facial expressions and left me laughing uncontrollably.

The entire ensemble is filled with very talented and captivating actors. They bring true comedy, believable upset and wonderful energy to the space.

Standout performances abound in this piece. I was impressed with James Wallis as Benedict, Amelia Sargisson as Beatrice, Jamie Johnson as Leonato and Jesse Nerenberg as Don John.

Given that it is a site-specific piece that takes place in the upstairs of a bar, the design elements of the show are sparse. However, I was delighted by Alexandra Marzocca’s costumes. I especially enjoyed the men’s costumes, they are all very basic but have a nice added touch for each character. I also liked the reference to Rosie the Riveter.

All the different elements of this piece work well together here. The acting, the script revisions, the direction, the location, the performances, the costumes, they’re all well done and they all fit together nicely.

Much Ado About Nothing is a must see at the Toronto Fringe Festival this year. I can’t wait to see what Shakespeare BASH’d brings to the stage next.

 

Details:

Much Ado About Nothing is being performed at Victory Cafe (581 Markham Street)

Performances:

Thursday July 4, 7:00pm‐8:30pm
Friday July 5, 7:00pm‐8:30pm
Saturday July 6, 9:00pm‐10:30pm
Sunday July 7, 5:00pm‐6:30pm
Tuesday July 9, 7:00pm‐8:30pm
Thursday July 11, 7:00pm‐8:30pm
Friday July 12, 7:00pm‐8:30pm
Saturday, July 13, 7:00pm‐8:30pm
Sunday, July 14, 5:00pm‐6:30pm

Tickets:

  • Individual Fringe tickets are available at the door for $10 ($5 for FringeKids), cash only. Late comers will not be permitted.
  • Advance tickets are $11 ($9 + $2 service charge) are available online at fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062 ext 1, or in person during the festival at the Festival Box Office in the parking lot behind Honest Ed’s (581 Bloor St W).
  • Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows

 

Photograph of Amelia Sargisson and James Wallis by James MacDonald.