Nothing comes of nothing according to one of the Bard’s greatest tragic leads: he might have changed his mind after seeing the Shakespeare Globe company’s joyful production of Much Ado.
Norwich Cathedral’s cloister can have difficult acoustics, but the unamplified voices of this talented cast filled the space perfectly, in jest, in seduction, in anger and in reconciliation.
Simon Bubb excels as Benedick, gloriously expressive and just as comfortable with the play’s witty dialogue as its physical comedy. He is defiantly matched by Emma Pallant as Beatrice: gamely suffering a soaking for her art. She is wickedly and winningly funny throughout.
Gemma Lawrence is a fine Hero, innocent and reticent as she meets Claudio at the play’s outset, distraught and undone as he later denies her. As her betrothed, Sam Phillips runs the full gamut of emotions, but keeps his acting lean: there is no hammy hand-soaring here.
The trombone-playing Robert Pickavance is a suitable avuncular Leonato (and a comic Ursula), with Joy Richardson bringing verve and swagger across her three supporting roles.
Chris Starkie cools the blood as the taciturn Don John and warms the cockles as the foot-in-mouth Dogberry.
It rarely gets better than this: fine storytelling, exemplary acting and an extraordinary setting.