May 8th, 2016 – Much Ado About Nothing (2012)

Play: Much Ado About Nothing

Setting: Modern

Year Produced: 2011

Amy Acker – Beatrice

Alexis Denisof – Benedick

Jillian Morgese – Hero

Fran Kranz – Claudio

Sean Maher – Don John

Accuracy: 8/10

Rating: 8/10

Director Joss Whedon chose this black and white, understated, shot in his own home, almost completely true to the text film version of Much Ado as a followup to directing The Avengers, which in and of itself is a delicious contrast that delights me ever so much. But even for those unfamiliar with Whedon’s work, or with superhero movies (Oh man, get it, superHero? I AM SLAIN) this movie, I think, stands very firmly on its own two feet. Continue reading “May 8th, 2016 – Much Ado About Nothing (2012)”


May 7th, 2016 – Much Ado About Nothing (2011)

Play: Much Ado About Nothing

Setting: Period

Year Produced: 2011

Eve Best – Beatrice

Charles Edwards – Benedick

Ony Uhiara – Hero

Phil Cumbus – Claudio

Matthew Pidgeon – Don John

Accuracy: 10/10

Rating: 10/10

This filmed version of a 2011 production of Much Ado About Nothing was done with the excellence and high quality that one would expect from the Globe theater. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to go and see a production like this one live! Continue reading “May 7th, 2016 – Much Ado About Nothing (2011)”

May 6th, 2016 – Much Ado About Nothing (2011)

Play: Much Ado About Nothing

Setting: Modern

Year Produced: 2011

Catherine Tate – Beatrice

David Tennant – Benedick

Sarah MacRae – Hero

Tom Bateman – Claudio

Elliot Levey- Don John

Accuracy: 9/10

Rating: 10/10

As a budget-limited fan of theater, I am eternally grateful for the accessibility that our modern world provides us, in the form of affordable, high-quality streaming video. Much as I would like to just pop on over to London, catch a few plays, grab a biscuit and fly back home, unfortunately that is not possible.

Thankfully, there’s Digital Theater! And also thankfully, this production is practically perfect in every way. As brilliant as everyone is in this, this is really David Tennant and Catherine Tate’s show from start to finish.


Continue reading “May 6th, 2016 – Much Ado About Nothing (2011)”

May 4th, 2016 – ShakespeaRe-Told: Much Ado About Nothing

Play: Much Ado About Nothing

Setting: Modern

Year Produced: 2006

Sarah Parish – Beatrice

Damian Lewis – Benedick

Billie Piper – Hero

Tom Ellis – Claudio

Derek Riddell – Don John

Accuracy: 2/10

Rating: 7/10

Along with yesterday’s modernized Macbeth, this snappy, fast-paced Much Ado About Nothing is part of the BBC’s effort in 2005 to present four modern-language adaptations of Shakespeare classics (the other two are The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which will be reviewed in good time, dear readers.) In this instance, our Beatrice and Benedick are former co-anchors of a regional news program, as well as being former lovers. This is a choice that several modern adaptations of this play decide to make explicit for this dynamic, and while I don’t hate it, I sometimes wonder at the fact that this seems to be the shorthand for why they have the intensely antagonistic dynamic they have at the start of the play. 

Continue reading “May 4th, 2016 – ShakespeaRe-Told: Much Ado About Nothing”

May 3rd, 2016 – ShakespeaRe-Told: Macbeth

Play: Macbeth

Setting: Modern

Year Produced: 2006

James McAvoy – Joe Macbeth

Keeley Hawes – Ella Macbeth

Joseph Millson – Billy Banquo

Vincent Reagan – Duncan Docherty

Richard Armitage – Peter Macduff

Accuracy: 2/10

Rating: 7/10

Shakespeare died today, 400 years ago, in a place as far removed from our modern age as this adaptation is from its source. And yet, it’s somehow fitting that my insane quest to watch a year’s worth of Shakespeare adaptations—films, television, theater, musicals, any format I can get my hands on—begins with this one. It isn’t the best adaptation of Macbeth out there (though it’s certainly not the worst) and there are some clear and glaring editorial choices that distract from what is otherwise a fairly compelling set of performances, but overall, the decision to modernize this play by setting it in the kitchen of an up-and-coming restaurant adds a new, well, flavor to the story. The battlefield is a stainless steel kitchen—competitive, intense, with knives and laughter in equal measure; the witches become garbage collectors, both repellant and suitably prophetic in those shadowy hours between night and morning. Continue reading “May 3rd, 2016 – ShakespeaRe-Told: Macbeth”