"Much Ado About Nothing" @ Bard on the Beach (Vanier Park)

  • September 11, 2010 · 1:00 PM
  • Bard on the Beach

BUY YOUR TICKET IN ADVANCE - these shows always sell out... Tickets only $23.50 for the matinee (we can always get drinks/dinner after the show) and availability still shows "good" on the Bard on the Beach web site:


Romance and matchmaking abound when the men return victorious from war. While friends devise merry plots to trick the fiercely independent Beatrice and Benedick into admitting their love for each other, Hero and Claudio make idealistic wedding plans. Into this world of courtship, light-hearted mischief and wit, Shakespeare places Don John, a “plain-dealing villain.” Isolated from the fun, he is determined to destroy it. Relieving tensions are the hilarious constable and his watch and, in the end, it is bumbling Constable Dogberry who saves the day.

In case it's been a few years since you read this play in high school - here is the synopsis:

THE STORY - Much Ado About Nothing

The play takes place in and around the home of Leonato, Governor of Messina. Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, arrives with his followers on their way home from the wars. With him are Count Claudio, who immediately falls in love with Hero, Leonato’s daughter and heir, and Signor Benedick, who spends a lot of time mocking love and exchanging witty insults with Leonato’s niece, Beatrice, also a sworn enemy to love. Don Pedro’s half brother, Don John, who describes himself as a ‘plain dealing villain’ is also with them. He expresses resentment of his brother, saying, "if I had my mouth, I would bite," and looks for opportunities to foil him.

Don Pedro helps Claudio woo Hero and get Leonato’s consent to their wedding. To pass the time until the wedding, Don Pedro, Leonato, Claudio and Hero decide to trick Benedick and Beatrice into falling in love with each another. Don Pedro contrives first that Benedick will overhear him in conversation with Claudio and Leonato. They discuss the "fact" that Beatrice is in love with Benedick, but that she would rather die than reveal her love. Having heard this, Benedick decides to requite her love. The plotters then contrive that Beatrice should overhear Hero and her gentlewoman, Ursula, discussing Benedick’s love for Beatrice, which likewise inspires her to fall in love with him.

In the midst of this merriment, however, Don John remains determined to thwart Claudio and Hero’s wedding. His follower, Borachio, is ‘much in the favour’ of Hero’s gentlewoman, Margaret, and can persuade her to meet him in the middle of the night at Hero’s chamber window dressed in Hero’s clothing. Don John brings Claudio and Don Pedro where they can witness this meeting, and of course, they believe that it is Hero and see it as evidence of Hero’s unchastity. The following day at the wedding ceremony, Claudio publicly refuses and shames Hero, who faints and appears to be dead. The Prince, Don John and Claudio nonetheless leave. When Hero revives, the Friar, convinced of her innocence, advises Hero and her family to behave as if Hero has in fact died, until the truth can be discovered. He hopes that this will inspire remorse in Claudio. The truth finally comes to light thanks to the Watch, a ragtag bunch who report to Dogberry, an enthusiastic, malaprop-spouting constable charged with keeping the peace in Messina. The Watch hears Borachio describe his deeds to another of Don John’s followers, Conrade. The Sexton who records the testimony realizes the implications for Hero and her family. Borachio is brought before Leonato, and the truth is revealed to Claudio and Don Pedro. They learn that Don John has fled. On hearing that he had falsely accused Hero, Claudio vows to mourn at Hero’s tomb that night and the following morning to marry "Hero’s cousin", now Leonato’s heir. The following day, as they wait for Claudio and the Prince to arrive for the wedding, Benedick tells Leonato and the Friar of his desire to marry Beatrice as well. Claudio accepts his new bride, who is revealed to be Hero, and in spite of some good-natured, last-minute wrangling, Benedick and Beatrice decide to get married, too. The play ends with a dance.

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