Snowglobe Theatre’s
Much Ado About Nothing

Play heralds something new in local indie theatre

By Byron Toben

Much Ado About Nothing WestmountMag.caShakespeare wrote Much Ado About Nothing in 1599. Snowglobe Theatre, a new entry in the English Montreal assembly of independent groups, chose this comedy as its first production for an all too short run of four days at the Mainline, at the end of January.

Snowglobe was co-founded by Peter Giser, Edward Cohen and Sandra D’Angelo. Mr Giser is back in his hometown of Montreal after several years of study, acting and directing in New York. He has a musical background, as do the other two. In this production, Mr Cohen plays the key male role of Benedick and Ms. D’Angelo, the key female role, that of Beatrice.

The two banter back and forth, she being sardonically outspoken about men and he against marriage (although they secretly love each other). In some ways, their conflict is a precursor to Shakespeare’s The Taming of The Shrew, written a year or two later.

The group was fortunate to obtain Westmount-born Keir Cutler to play the bumbling night constable Dogberry, who is constantly misappropriating sound alike words…

These two are surrounded by fourteen other actors and two period musicians all acquitting themselves well.

Keir Cutler Much Ado About Nothing WestmountMag.caThe group was fortunate to obtain Westmount-born Keir Cutler to play the bumbling night constable Dogberry, who is constantly misappropriating sound alike words, in a style later voiced by Ms Malaprop in Sheridan’s 1775 The Rivals. Mr Cutler is famous, of course for his Fringe series of hits on Teaching Shakespeare.

The other couple in tandem to Benedick and Beatrice are the younger Claudio (John Abbott grad David Hudon) and Hero (Dawson grad Skylar Clarke). They survive a false accusation plot by the evil Don John (England-born Michael Vidde) until Friar Francis, a sympathetic priest (Rodrigo Mondares) manages to make all end well.

My ears perked up when another character, Don Pedro (England import James Findlay Fraser), quipped “Speak Low When You Speak Love” which is the key song in the 1943 Kurt Weill musical One Touch of Venus with lyrics by New Yorker poet Ogden Nash. I am a big fan of both but was puzzled by Nash’s atypical romantic flourish. Now I understand. The song has become a classic, sung by so many greats, as did Mary Martin from the original cast.

Keep an eye out for the next effort of this promising new company.

Much Ado About Nothing WestmountMag.caThe play contains a lot of words and allusions which must have attracted a big audience in Elizabethan times who understood the lewd and crude terms of the day, but are meaningless to our modern ear. The program actually has a glossary of 23 of these terms.

Lots of masks, hypocrisies and the sexism of the day abound.

In his 1910 short play, The Dark Lady of the Sonnets, G. Bernard Shaw features W. Shakespeare as a character who disowns his own play, despairing that the masses like “Much Ado About Nothing. Which It truly Is.”

Keep an eye out for the next effort of this promising new company.

Much Ado About Nothing played at the Mainline theatre from January 26 to 29.

Images: courtesy of Snowglobe Theatre


Byron Toben is the immediate past-president of the Montreal Press Club

perfect valentine



There are no comments

Add yours

Logo WestmountMag.ca


Sign-up to WestmountMag.ca’s newsletter and get regular email notification of our latest articles.

Abonnez-vous à l’infolettre de WestmountMag.ca pour recevoir régulièrement par courriel la liste des articles les plus récents.