More than a bit of a do in the shadow of the Abbey

The cast from Peterborough Mask Theatre's production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

The cast from Peterborough Mask Theatre's production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

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THEATRE REVIEW: Much Ado About Nothing, Peterborough Mask Theatre, Crowland Abbey

It is questionable whether William Shakespeare had Crowland Abbey in mind when he wrote Much Ado About Nothing right at the end of the 16th century.

But Shakespeare, Warwickshire’s most famous son, would have been proud of Peterborough Mask Theatre’s expert handling of his famous comedy about how young lovers Hero (Becky Owen-Fisher) and Claudio (Matt Robertson) were almost tricked out of a dream marriage.

Largely to blame for the wedding that almost never was, a devious Don John (Dave Slinger) who used henchman Borachio (Kris Sikora) to accuse Hero of cheating on Claudio the very night before she was due to walk down the aisle.

In the meantime, the wildly camp Don Pedro (Jonni Hilton) decided that two weddings are better than one by setting a “lover’s trap” for confirmed bachelor Benedick (Luke Day) and willing partner in biting wit Beatrice (Claire Rowbottom), Hero’s cousing.

How a cast of just 25 actors and actresses managed to turn Shakespeare’s most slapstick comedy into a dream night under the ruins of Crowland Abbey’s nave is testament both to their talent for the trade and passion for the Bard of Avon himself.

Review by Winston Brown