a merry war of wits.

much ado collage“Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.” (5.2.68)

It was apparently adapted in a Peranakan setting, which wasn’t very obvious at first, until after the intermission. Nice set, well-interpreted and very pleasant. I was more interested in Benedick and Beatrice; obviously as characters, they had the most to work with. And Adrian Pang as Benedick and probably the main promo piece of the play, given his relative fame, didn’t disappoint. His comic timing and antics, though hysterical at times, didn’t tip that fine equilibrium that would have caused inconsistencies within the character he was playing. That inspired use of the Indian accent as Beatrice and him were, perhaps knowingly, sparring behind the shield of their masks (Act II, scene i), I thought, was a comic move that had fitted very well within the context of the set while not betraying the fabric of this Shakespearean play.

Beatrice was glory in her own right as well. Her bold articulation of witty insults, acting in complete defiance of antiquated feminine decorum, dissolves in a quick softening of defenses in the scene she overhears of Benedick’s fabricated affection for her. Very nicely done, the way the actress transited from loud humorous cynicism (within which a brief preliminary display of  her softer side) to incredulous disarming, righteous grief and finally the happy truce between the impossible couple.

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