Thursday, January 16, 2014

Shelf Life [adult]

Much Ado About Nothing, adapted by Joss Whedon from the play by William Shakespeare

When I first heard that Joss Whedon, my favourite director, was filming an adaptation of my favourite play, Much Ado About Nothing, by my all-time-favourite-leave-me-on-a-desert-island-with author William Shakespeare, my inner geek gave a loud squeal of joy. When I heard that most of the cast would be from the Whedon ‘verse (former stars of Buffy, Angel, Firefly and The Avengers), my inner geek did a cartwheel and I started counting the days until I could watch this perfect coalescence of film and theatre geekery. Alas, it was not given wide distribution in cinemas, so it was out of reach until available on DVD.

Although filmed on a shoestring budget in less than a week, this version of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy of wits could fool one into thinking it is a clever indie film shot over a number of months. Although shot in a contemporary time and setting (Whedon’s own home, I believe), Whedon’s distinctive framing and the choice of shooting it in black and white gives this version a very classic feel. Yes, the normally three-hour play has been trimmed to a neat 109 minutes, something at which true Shakespeare aficionados may balk, but it is a small price to pay, in my humble opinion, for watching Amy Acker’s stormy, prat-falling Beatrice, or Nathan Fillion’s improvisational antics as Dogberry (pulling of a pretty credible iambic pentameter to boot) - not bad for a bunch of tv and film actors with little to no rehearsal time.

In the dead of winter with the opening of the Stratford Festival still several months away, those with theatre withdrawal can now enjoy this delightful film – and those fans of Joss Whedon can marvel once more at his mastery of the silver screen. Find and reserve Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing at under the tag Shelf Life Reviewed.

This review appears in The Stratford Gazette on January 16, 2014. Written by Robyn Godfrey, Librarian.

No comments:

Post a Comment