Much Ado About Nothing | From Director James Evans

Much Ado About Nothing is the original romantic comedy. But like all of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedy hovers dangerously close. Claudio’s appalling treatment of Hero, her supposed death, and subsequent ‘rebirth’ sit disruptively alongside the sparkling wit of Beatrice and Benedick, and the buffoonery of Dogberry and the Watch. Shakespeare was never constrained by the limitations of genre. Much Ado About Nothing is technically a comedy, insofar as in the final scene people get married instead of killed, but it is essentially a hybrid play.

The Hero/Claudio storyline is based on the work of other writers, including one of Shakespeare’s favourite sources, Matteo Bandello. Shakespeare had already had success borrowing from Bandello (see Romeo and Juliet), and the melodramatic tale of a rich nobleman who breaks off his wedding on false grounds was too juicy to resist.