The week of the Kilkenny Arts Festival brought the Shakespeare Globe UK Company to the Kilkenny Design Centre at Castle Park. This year they brought "Much Ado About Nothing".
This was easily the highlight of my all-too-brief time in lovely Cill Channaigh, an astounding performance of this stalwart Shakespearean comedy. The keystones of this play are the sharp-witted and sharp-tongued Beatrice and Benedick, and the Globe company has them perfectly cast for this tour. The scene where the Prince (Jim Kitson), Claudio (Sam Phillips) and Leonato (Robert Pickavance) conspire against Benedick while the latter tries vainly to hide was a scene-stealing performance by Simon Bubb, though he had few lines to speak aloud. Likewise, the mirror scene where Hero and Margaret do the same for Beatrice was laugh-out-loud funny, capped off when Hero and Margaret dump the remainder of the laundry water off the stage onto the 'hiding' Beatrice, to the delight of the audience. All of the actors delivered their various parts with gusto and real feeling. Beyond Emma Pallant as Beatrice and Simon Bubb as Benedick, the performances by Joy Richardson as Margaret, Don Jon's man and the friar were stellar. While Chris Starkie's performance as Don Jon was a bit reserved, he finally got the chance to shine toward the second act, when he took on the part of Dogberry and walked away with every scene with a thick Scottish brogue and perfect delivery of every single absurd line that the character spouted.
Scene changes were marked by pleasant upbeat music played by the actors, guitar and accordion and horn, with Simon Bubb confidently banging on a triangle or a tambourine or other simple instrument in about the hammiest way possible, again, much to the delight of the audience.
I really can't say enough good things about this show. If you should get a chance to see it on this world tour, DO NOT MISS IT.