A GOOD play deserves only a good performance.

Repertory Philippine’s staging of The Bard’s Much Ado About Nothing is again another addition to its series of highly acclaimed performances.

The interlacing plots of the two love stories—that of the arrogant Benedick (Joel Trinidad) and sharp-witted Beatrice (Ana Bitong), and of the romantic Claudio (Rem Zamora) and modest Hero (Liesl Batucan); the evil machinations of the jealous Don John (Raul Montesa); and the comical heroic acts of Dogberry (Topper Fabregas) and Verges (Jejie Esguerra), were all pared down to an hour and 45 minutes without losing the essence of the story.

Most of the events in the original story are retained, like the masquerade and wooing of Hero by Don Pedro (Jeremy Domingo) for Claudio, the ingenious plan of making Benedick and Beatrice (who clash about everything) fall in love with one another, and the unjust humiliation of Hero on her wedding day.

One important scene omitted is that in Hero’s chamber, where Claudio falsely accuses Hero of entertaining another man on the eve of her wedding. Unknown to him, he is already falling into the trap of the villain Don John.

However, the subsequent dialogues of Don John’s cohorts—Borachio (Adrian Flor) and Conrad (Oneill Torres)—detailing the plot to disgrace Hero, compensate for the missing scene.

The actors have mastered the temperaments and nuances of their roles. The characters of Benedick and Beatrice are remarkably portrayed by Trinidad and Bitong.

On the one hand, Trinidad appears to be a copycat of Kenneth Branagh (Benedick in the 1993 movie adaptation) with his eyebrow-raising and lip curling. On the other, he shows his own brand of acting with his humorous and witty delivery of lines and coordinated body expression.

Artlets dean appointed Vice-Rector for Acad Affairs

Bitong is the perfect partner for Trinidad who fits the rude and adamant character of Beatrice. As for the other pair of lovers, their characters are not much of a challenge. Zamora and Batucan effortlessly glide through their scenes.

Furthermore, the setting of the play, which is the façade of Leonato’s house surrounded by greenfileds, captures the romantic and peaceful ambience of England.

Watching the play can never substitute for Shakespeare in print, but it is a rewarding experience in itself.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.