William Shakespeare’s comedic play is about misunderstandings, love and deception - or rather don’t believe all you hear!
Returned from a battle between brothers Don Pedro and Don John, Benedick, Claudio and Don Pedro arrive at Leonato's house in Messina. Beatrice and Benedick bicker with each other and Claudio, a soldier, falls in love with Leonato's daughter, Hero. Don John, who is Don Pedro's evil bastard-brother, tricks Claudio into believing that he has seen Hero being unfaithful. Meanwhile, Don Pedro and others plot to bring Benedick and Beatrice together. Claudio accuses Hero of infidelity and refuses to marry her. Leonato is persuaded to pretend that she is dead. Hero's innocence is proven and Claudio repents. He agrees to accept Antonio's daughter in marriage and she turns out to be Hero after all! The trick is to make Benedick and Beatrice fall in love!
Who is Playing Who
TBC - Don Pedro, the Prince of Aragon. He has just won a battle against his illegitimate half-brother Don John. Although reconciled he doesn’t speak to him much and may merely be keeping him close to keep an eye on him.
Adam Wade is Don John, a bastard, in both the legal and ethical senses of the term. The essence of his character is that he is evil.
Jake Taylor is Claudio, a Count of Don Pedro’s suite, who has distinguished himself in the recent war. Not very bright. Also gullible; very handy in this play.
Matt Lambert is Benedick, a gentleman of Padua serving in Don Pedro’s army. Has an apparent distaste for women and according to Beatrice, adopts a new best friend a month, out of a concern for money; his present one is Claudio.
David Bryan is Leonato, the governor of Messina. He has a daughter, Hero, and is the guardian of an orphaned niece, Beatrice.
Malcolm Barker is Antonio, an older man and Leonato’s brother.
Pete Thomson is Balthasar, a musician. A singer, he may play the lute. Or not. Commands a small band of itinerant musicians.
Ben Brunsdon is Borachio. He and Conrade (casting TBC) are followers of and schemers in the name of Don John. Borachio is a drunkard with a crafty mind. Conrade attempts to convince Don John to use his favour with his brother to pursue his own ends.
Miranda Chance is Hero, Leonato’s daughter. A sweet and obedient girl overshadowed by her cousin Beatrice, she almost never speaks in her elders’ presence. In comfortable company she reveals a playful character, plotting to make her cousin and Benedick fall in love.
Nicola Holland is Beatrice, Leonato’s orphaned niece. Older than Hero, she has a ready wit which she clearly enjoys displaying, and is much given to mockery. Her favourite target is Benedick, with whom she has history, needling him as soon as he arrives. She appears to have no care for a husband.
Gill Jones is Margaret/Ursula, Hero’s waiting-gentlewoman. A witty fashion-obsessed flirt, she requires good dancing abilities in her men.
Anthony Kitchen is Friar Francis, a long-winded, well-meaning, somewhat interfering gentlemen; thinks it is a fine idea to make people believe a young girl is dead.
Chris Finney is Dogberry, the constable of the Watch, Neighbourhood Watch, that is. His job is to patrol the streets of Messina at night and keep order. Dogberry has very few doubts about himself.
Laura Wigglesworth is Verges, lieutenant of the Watch and Dogberry’s right-hand man. He seems to be completely under Dogberry’s thumb.
Anthony Kitchen is also The Sexton, he records the examination of the men detained by the Watch. His misfortune? The Watch is commanded by Dogberry.
Two Watchmen are part of the band that Dogberry commands, charged with patrolling the streets of Messina at night.