August 20 2014 Latest news:
Friday, July 18, 2014
Shakespearean comedy and romance entertained a delighted audience on a sunny summer’s evening at one of Norwich’s most historic sites.
After the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet opened this year’s Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral on Wednesday, last night it was the turn of Much Ado About Nothing to be played out in the centuries-old cloister.
The story of two couples set on the island of Sicily was brought to the city by Shakespeare’s Globe which, like the strolling players of Shakespeare’s time, is in the middle of touring the UK and beyond with the production.
“We are just having the most fantastic tour.
“We have been on the road since April and have performed in some of the most beautiful locations – and Norwich Cathedral is absolutely magical,” said actor Robert Pickavance ahead of last night’s performance.
Full of comedy, suspense and – of course – romance, Much Ado About Nothing tells of how Claudio loves Hero and Hero loves Claudio, and nothing seems capable of keeping them apart.
Meanwhile Claudio’s friend Benedick loves Beatrice and Beatrice loves Benedick but – because neither of them will admit it – nothing seems capable of bringing them together.
“Like a lot of Shakespearean comedies it starts in harmony and then goes into slightly troubled territory, and in true Shakespearean style it all becomes resolved in the end,” said Mr Pickavance, who plays Hero’s father Leonato along with two other roles.
He described the production as a theatrical “feast,” and said it was packed full of great energy and featured specially composed music to complement the Bard’s words.
“There’s an element of seriousness in it but, ultimately, it is an upbeat celebration of couples being brought together,” he said, adding that performing and watching Shakespeare in the open air was a very special experience.
“It’s a celebration of the English summer.
“It’s not just a play, it’s an event out of doors, and something special happens when a Shakespearean comedy is performed out of doors in a beautiful location. It’s a unique experience.”
And there was extra drama after Norwich Cathedral staff had to quickly turn the fire alarms off after smoke from a barbecue wafted into the building – but like true professionals, the show carried on regardless.
The Shakespeare Festival, in association with the Eastern Daily Press, is now in its sixth year and the four-day event will run until tomorrow.
Much Ado About Nothing is also being performed by Shakespeare’s Globe tonight – this performance is sold out.
The Lord Chamberlain’s Men are performing Romeo and Juliet in Norwich Cathedral’s cloister on Saturday at 7pm. There is limited ticket availability. Tickets £19 (£16 concessions) – call 01603 630000 or visit www.cathedral.org.uk/shakespeare