Confession time. I'm not particularly a Shakespeare comedy fan and neither do I watch Dr Who. It is past stage performances of David Tennant and Catherine Tate that made me snap up the tickets on offer to see them paired as Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.
Now I know there are a lot of Tennant fans out there but nothing could quite compare me for this evening's hysteria in the auditorium; the shrill, hysterical laughter when he so much as raised an eyebrow did almost get too much at times.
This was probably the closest theatre actors get to feeling like pop stars (unless they are playing one of course).
But it's good to see a packed out theatre for Shakespeare so I'm not going to complain too much and he and Tate did live up to expectations as did the production.
Director Josie Rourke has decided to milk every possible laugh from physical comedy. The lovely @btacts whom I met for the first time this evening (and who said 'hello' to Mr T when she passed him on the street beforehand) described it as virtually pantomime. And so it was but that is no bad thing.
It is set in the 80s for a start complete with disco music, girls in ra-ra dresses and the men wearing Officer and a Gentleman-esqe uniforms teamed with Tom Cruise-Top Gun aviator sunglasses. When Bendick makes his grand entrance (won't spoil it by saying how) you know this is going to be a production with its tongue firmly in its cheek and fun tattooed on its forehead.
If the first half is like a kids party on panda pop and musical chairs then the second half is a bit of a sit down and a game of sleeping lions all the while building up to the grand finale which felt like it had been plucked from a musical. But again, that is no bad thing. It needs the variety of pace as the play turns darker and it gives the actors a chance to flex different acting muscles.
Probably the most enjoyable Shakespeare comedies I've seen. It is a spectacle, not a Frankenstein spectacle, but a David Tennant in a short, denim, mini-skirt and footless, lacy, tights spectacle. And no, that last bit isn't an image I've dreamed up.
Naturally there was a standing ovation from pretty much everyone except @polyg and I but as she says it's the first performance, we want them to work for it a bit more. I won't know until September when I see the last performance if they will indeed get us off our seats.
It gets four stars from me a high four stars and it may go up to five. I need to sleep on it.
Easy peasy pudding and pie the wonderful Adam James plays the Prince of Aragon and he was in The Pride with Mr W.