Cuba, 1953. On the eve of the revolution, two soldiers, friends, entertain thoughts of marriage, one of entering it and the other avoiding it.
Three of the RSC’s Shakespeares from their complete cycle have transfered to the Novello, and I got to see this at the last minute without knowing anything about it. It’s a wonderful production and to be highly recommended: the cuban setting isn’t just an excuse for some wonderful live cuban music. The wonderful set has the band two stories up (the roof) with some of the action on the balconies but most in a courtyard that strings of lights extend into the auditorium (now there’s an idea I’d love to nick). When the sarcastic, detatched Beatrice took her shades off, I realised the reason she looked like Tasmin Greig (Black Books, Doctor Who, and, apparently, The Archers) was that she is Tasmin Greig, but looking considerably less than her 39 years. This casting reflects the emphasis on the comedy, borne out by some extremely accomplished foliage slapstick by Joseph Millson (Benedick). Although, perhaps, some of the darker moments were glossed over, with live music, singing and choreographed dance routines, it certainly was an entertaining show.