Joss Whedon and a cast of his TV regulars breathe fresh life into Shakespeare’s comedy of romantic gamesmanship. “The first great contemporary Shakespeare since Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet.” — The Guardian
Screened as part of NZIFF 2013
Joss Whedon’s zesty romcom, set amongst young corporate types in LA, breathes fresh life into a script that’s been around for more than 400 years. It arrives like an out-of-the-blue treat for any Whedon fans who didn’t already know that their man was steeped in the Bard. Their theatre-going grannies are in for an unexpected treat too.
“Updating the setting but, mercifully, not the language of Shakespeare’s great love comedy, this nimble black-and-white rendition honors a classic text, adroitly performed by a game ensemble of Whedon TV alumni, while teasing out all manner of anachronistic in-jokes and sight gags that enhance its merry spirit…
Whedon’s do-it-yourself labor of love was shot over 12 days last year at his Santa Monica manse, whose scenic gardens, Spanish-style architecture and casually elegant vibe are not too far removed, conceptually, from the idyllic Tuscan villa of Kenneth Branagh’s celebrated 1993 film, a realm of lushly romantic fantasy made momentarily concrete…
The pleasures here are largely those of any reading or staging… most of all, the splendid sparring matches between Beatrice (Amy Acker) and Benedick (Alexis Denisof), their unique scorn for each other and, indeed, for the very notion of love, marking them as a perfect match.” — Justin Chang, Variety
“The first great contemporary Shakespeare since Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. Not that it’s just for the kids – the Globe crowd, too, should extend this warm embrace… Much Ado may be a bit of a B+ staple on the Shakespeare circuit, but Whedon – as well as improving student grades the world over – makes it feel second to none.” — Catherine Shoard, The Guardian