Much Ado about Nothing?

8 Jan

It was confirmed today that David Tennant and Catherine Tate are to star in Much Ado about Nothing at the Wyndham’s theatre this summer (where Avenue Q has sadly recently departed). The online ticket system has been down already and tickets are already selling like hotcakes. A similar frenzy surrounded Tennant in the RSC production of Hamlet in 2008. We cannot naively hope that the speed at which tickets are being snapped up is purely down the Bard’s talents. The lure of a famous name, let alone one who is in any way attractive (swoon), often makes people pick up the phone and hurry down to the box office quicker than the same play with less than household names.

Many of these people are going to see the face, or other body part perhaps in the case of Daniel Radcliffe in Equus, and we can only hope that they will come out with an appreciation for the play itself and the standard of the acting, being able to distinguish Tennant from the Doctor and Radcliffe from the Boy Wizard (not that I am in any way comparing the standard of Radcliffe’s acting to Tennant). If bringing big names into the theatre brings more people in to the theatre this can only be a good thing. I know many people who would normally only venture into the theatre during panto season and a big name can help lure them into watching a show they perhaps wouldn’t normally. Indeed, one of the comments today on twitter read: “Wanna change from panto – Tennant and Tate in Much Ado About Nothing in London – wanna go with me?”. Sat in York Theatre Royal the other day, a lady next to me asked if they did other productions at other parts of the year- a question which amazed and astonished me as there is a wealth of great productions out there which may get overlooked simply because they don’t all have the pull of a former Doctor Who and the bright lights of London.

This is also not to say that actors like Tennant should feel like they cannot return to their roots in the theatre or that actors like Radcliffe and Keira Knightly should not experiment treading the boards. TV and film are very different from theatre, sure- but if theatre can get the audiences of TV and film then the industry is on to a winner. Just please do not turn up at stage door with a cardboard cut out of a Dalek to sign. Cheers.

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3 Responses to “Much Ado about Nothing?”

  1. Lisa 09/01/2011 at 4:52 am #

    As Tennant himself said about his brilliant run at the RSC (Hamlet and LLL – you might remember) there were very few Daleks and Cyberman at the stage door!

    Tennant is a very talented and experienced stage actor. We are lucky that he is taking time out from his film career to do this. If you’ve listened to his Much Ado audiobook, you will already know that he will kill in this role.

    I think it should be celebrated that he is bringing people to the theatre. A lot of people I know that saw his Hamlet have gone to see many more theatre productions. He has ignited a love of the stage in so many people. It’s a little bit snobby to say people are only going to see him because he’s off the telly. You can be a fan of both the dr and Shakespeare y’know!

    • flashandoutbreakofafierymind 09/01/2011 at 1:55 pm #

      Dear Lisa, I’m sorry if you got the wrong end of the stick. In my blog I do say that it’s a good thing Tennant is attracting more people to the theatre, but what I wish is that the same people would maybe be attracted by other maybe lower-key productions. Of course the majority of people that went to see him at the RSC and will be going to see him now will be theatre goers anyway, but it is true that some will be going purely to see him. I’m not necessarily saying that is a bad thing. Of course you can be a fan of both Doctor Who and Shakespeare. I am the last person to be snobby and high brow about things. Thanks for reading.

  2. Lisa 09/01/2011 at 2:16 pm #

    no worries – thought you might have gone all Jonathon Miller on me!

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