Image CO: Steph Cragg
Last week, the Guild’s Stanley Theatre was transformed into Messina as the Liverpool University Drama Society (LUDS) performed one of Shakespeare’s most loved plays, Much Ado About Nothing. Often heralded as a ‘Shakespeare play that’s actually funny’, LUDS did not disappoint by delivering an enjoyable and playful performance of the romantic comedy.
Directed by music student Will Truby, a strong cast of Liverpool students stayed true to the original play whilst presenting a relatable version of this comedy which was first performed back in 1612. Truby explained in the director’s note that he, “often though of Much Ado as Shakespeare’s sitcom,” and this take on the material was evident throughout, as the audience enjoyed fast-paced action and witty exchanges.
Many of the characters in this play would not look out of place in the modern day as Beatrice (played by Alice Meadows) is one of Shakespeare’s most strong-willed and independent female characters and Benedick (Cameron Steen) is as relatable and funny today. With exceptional acting from the rest of the cast including Lizzie Watkins, Charlie Pottle, Jack Gloyens and Joe Watkins, Shakespeare’s work was brought to life with the occasional adlib and modern use of props and scenery.
With student adaptations like this, there is often the tendency to focus solely on the comedy to make the audience laugh; this was luckily not the case here, as the darker and more dramatic scenes in Act 3 were presented as Shakespeare would have intended. The jump from melodrama to serious acting highlighted the awareness within the LUDS production of remaining loyal to Shakespeare’s original intentions for his play.
Throughout this year, LUDS have presented a variety of different shows, highlighting the talent and versatility of these students, both on the stage and behind the scenes. LUDS and LUST students can be trusted to give incredible and at times, surprising performances; where else can you expect a Shakespeare play to end with a curtain call to ‘All Star’ by Smash Mouth?
Make sure to look out for this bunch next year!
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