Review: Rauceby Hall sets the scene for Shakespearean comedy

Katrina Michaels as Margaret. Photo: MPTCKatrina Michaels as Margaret. Photo: MPTC
Katrina Michaels as Margaret. Photo: MPTC
The relaxed lawns of historic Rauceby Hall were the fine setting for a refreshing, musically comedic production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing on Friday evening (June 7).

Retold in the setting of 1960s Messina, Italy, the professional cast of Moving Parts Theatre Company inspired a sense of fun, rhythm and mischief to the classic comedy by the Bard.

The viewers were immediately drawn into proceedings, invited to join in the chorus of the first song by the infectiously endearing Katrina Michaels, as Margaret, and Will Beyon (Borachio), as they performed a cheeky tale of unrequited love filled with excuses and clothing props supplied by audience members.

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This pair truly stitched the show together with their amazing vocal talents and musicianship, as well as brilliant acting, as they sped through multiple roles including monks, a priest, a constable of the watch, as well as their main parts as supporters of the main families.

Joanna Nevin and Martin South share a blazing look as protagonists Beatrice and Benedick. Photo: MPTCJoanna Nevin and Martin South share a blazing look as protagonists Beatrice and Benedick. Photo: MPTC
Joanna Nevin and Martin South share a blazing look as protagonists Beatrice and Benedick. Photo: MPTC

The light-hearted nature of the piece was evident as the characters set about the sport of matchmaking between Claudio and Hero (Lewis Jenkins and Lissy Dias) and between Beatrice and Benedick (Joanne Nevin and Martin South) who both swear they will never find love. The second pairing were particularly enjoyable in their sparky exchanges of verbal fencing.

They were well supported by Ryan Williams as Don Pedro, Keith Hill as the host Leonato and by local Sleaford actor Andy Canadine who recently made the step up from amateur drama and played the part of amusingly meddling misanthrope Don John, who seeks to sabotage the wedding plans.

The inventive use of minimal props was fascinating to watch, including the multiple uses of a washing line strung between two tents, featuring washing, flowers, bunting and fairy lights to capture the moments.

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All in all the team demonstrated the meaning of a professional performance in what was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

The show continues on Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 3pm and at further venues in East Anglia and the south of England.

Tickets are available from https://movingpartstheatre.com/whats-on/

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