Much Ado About Nothing is a fantastic blend of traditional Shakespearean comedy, modern settings and beautiful Polynesian costume and song was found at the Pop Up Globe theatre. Recently relocated to the Ellerslie Racecourse, the new venue boasts a garden wine bar and ample free parking, but retains the 1500’s classical ambience.
Director Miriama McDowell has done a brilliant job to cast the stunning Victoria Abbot as Hero, and includes the hilarious Samu Filipo as a high flying Benedick. Shows at the pop-up this season are all made up from one ensemble of two companies combining the Pop-up Globe Queen’s Company and the Pop-up Globe King’s Company. Other highlights include Dogberry’s adorable Tango – a brown labrador, and the live musicians playing a combination of funk, jazz, and traditional Polynesian music.
The Pop-Up itself has survived the move gracefully – the ceiling art looks great and the set lends itself to the Shakespearean theatre perfectly. The performers have a way of climbing through the seats, balconies, ceiling and the floor to get laughs and surprises. The cheapest tickets get you the closest – this performance was not afraid to engage in some hilarious back-and-forth with various standees, including Belafonte singalongs and fishing for compliments.
This is a hilarious and precise interpretation of the play, with energy and romance throughout, that even a theatre knave as myself loved. Clever improvisations and examinations of social roles are performed throughout, and the laughs are so good because they poke fun at the timeless struggles of relationships, loneliness, and guilt.
Go see a play. It’s good for you.