We had some of the best summer weather we could have possibly hoped for and all the venues (which were new to us) worked a treat. Happy to say that Much Ado was a success all round
Bedfringe Review Castle Mound – Four Stars
Bedford based No Loss Productions bring their summer tour of Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing to Bedford’s lovely Castle Mound. With traffic all around below the space is remarkable peaceful and ideal for another rendition of Much Ado.
No Loss Productions give us modern costume and deliver the Shakespeare very well, losing hardly a word, in this idyllic castle mound setting. There’s even an iPod and our characters use mobile phones! They project well and what struck me was the intense focus in part and the sharpness of the dialogue – quick fire when needed, tender and slow when needed too.
Army attire is contemporary and there’s plenty of verbal humour in this comedy as well as classic pantomime “behind you” moments. And this is a very English comedy in style, based a lot on the verbal interplay. No Loss know how to do outdoor Shakespeare and the cast is uniformly very good.
This is a very watchable production full of commitment, energy and a very impressive collective focus. All performers are still in character even as they exit and enter from the far corners of the space. There’s informality to the dialogue sometimes bordering on naturalism. But it works.
The strength here is in excellent characterisation, delivery of the verse and a story that raised plenty of chuckles in the audience on a swelteringly hot day. I enjoyed it most when there was action happening across the whole space with dialogue taking place in the foreground. This well designed busyness energised the space.
Outdoor Shakespeare needs to command the place, use it well, deliver the dialogue clearly and with projection as well as create its own chosen style. No Loss Productions have achieved all of this with a tempo well matched to the story and with a mood that goes for light rather than raucous comedy. This allows the language to shine forth, gaining many smiles and laughs without unnecessary interference from the company. But there are also tender and touching moments as well as plenty of physicality in just the right places.
Oh, and it contained one of the best right hooks I’ve seen in a Shakespeare in a long time!
Reviewed by Paul Levy 13th July 2013
Friday 28th & Saturday 29th June 7.pm
Hinwick House: an elegant country home, set in the idyllic and picturesque North Bedfordshire countryside. With easy access from the M1 and the A1 we are very excited to be performing in such a hidden gem of a garden, 37-acres including a stunning 18th Century bell tower, manicured lawns, a period dovecote, estate cottages, a walled garden, parkland, a wooded grove, ornamental lakes, ponds and streams.
Saturday 6th July 2pm & 7pm
The magic of Tofte Manor is in its gardens, its labyrinth and its history. Set in the Bedfordshire village of Sharnbrook we are privileged to have Five acres of beautiful landscaped gardens provide a wonderful backdrop to our performances
Saturday 13th July 2pm & 7pm
Castle Mound Bedford. The Castle Quay project in Bedford has brought a major historical area back to life over the past few years, Bedford Museum reopens it’s doors this summer so the opportunity to perform in the heart of our home town was too good to pass up (along with the possibility of sneaking an ice cream from nearby Spaghetti John’s !)
Sunday 21st July 2.pm & 7.pm
Stanwick Lakes a beautiful lakeside setting with a grass amphitheatre perfect for theatre on a summer’s day. The site provides a whole host of activities to keep families busy all day long. Just over the border in Northampton shire, another first for us as a company.
Thursday 25th July 7.30pm
In partnership with Bedford Corn Exchange we will be performing on the outdoor stage in Harpur Square at Bedfringe 2013. Now in its 7th year this year’s Bedfringe is set to be bigger and better than ever, how could we miss it? Look out for the brilliant Bedfringe brochure and see what else is happening in the town 12 July – 3 August
Thank you to talented artist Julian Rowe for permission to use his Artwork for Much Ado publicity and to Tim Matthews for making it so!
Much Ado Cast and Crew