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Julian Meynell's Books

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Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing - Paul Werstine, Barbara A. Mowat, William Shakespeare

This is a slightly overrated Shakespeare play.  It's title which is a play on slang for female genitalia also catches the fact that the play isn't really about anything.  That's not necessarily a problem of course romantic comedies can all be about being light as a souffle, but this one is merely middling Shakespeare.

The romantic subplot between Beatrice and Benedict is superb with shining and wonderful banter.  Dogberry is an effective clown character.  Essentially a modern policeman.  The problem is the main action.  Claudio and Hero are not the greatest characters and the plot which involves a spurious accusation of infidelity is a very slight and inconsequential almost tossed away bit of plotting.

The dialogue is shiny and sparkly but I have to say that if one is looking for light Shakespearean comedy both Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream are much better plays in my opinion.  Its good, but it is not quite as good as it is meant to be.