Stray Theatre Company’s production of Much Ado About Nothing was a flamboyant, nostalgic rendition of William Shakespeare’s classic comedy romance. The set establishes the camp 90s aesthetic as you walk into the theatre, with lockers stretching across the stage, accented by the American high school colours of yellow and blue. The theme was clear and present visually; however, the characters were still somewhat stuck in the years of Shakespeare, not a 90s high school. Every now and then, there are one-word references to the setting, rather than the context being woven within the script, which would’ve grounded the world.
Now, I’m no avid Shakespeare fan, so the language is something I still struggle with. However, the hugely physical acting was clear enough where I didn’t need to know every single word to understand what was happening. There were two clear standouts in the show: Dogberry (Andrew John Scott) and Verges (Ella Meg Paulsen), who were the comedic Hall Monitor duo. They both were two who clearly knew each intent and delivery of the words they were saying, and put so much energy and comedy into every scene they were in.
Stray’s take on Bill’s classic was entertaining, even though some of the cracks were clear, they were cleaned up by a committed and confident cast.