Shakespeare in Hollywood's golden age

Angel Llàcer and Manu Guix take to the stage of the TNC's Sala Gran with an adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing, inspired by 1950s American films with the music of Cole Porter

Until November 29, the Sala Gran of the national theatre, the TNC, will host a contemporary version of Shakespeare's romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing (Molt soroll per no res, in Catalan). Yet this version is inspired by 1950s American films, with the music of Cole Porter. It is a case of a classic comedy turned into a modern musical and an original production set in Hollywood's golden age, which aims to be an ode to life and deals with the fragile barrier between friendship and love, according to the creators of the show: Ângel Llàcer, artistic director, for the first time working with the TNC, and musical director Manu Guix.

In fact, this autumn brings lots of shows dedicated to Shakespeare to the world of Catalan theatre. Much Ado About Nothing at the TNC coincides with Amor & Shakespeare, an adaptation by Guillem-Jordi Graells and Josep Maria Mestres. Not to mention Declan Donnellan's adaptation of Measure for Measure, by the Russian branch of the Cheek by Jowl theatre company, which has been recently been on at Temporada Alta festival at the end of October.

Much Ado

Molt soroll per no res is a big format show for all the family, and is aimed at a large audience. (school sessions are programmed for Wednesdays). Featuring a cast of 15 actors and a dozen musicians, during the two and a half hours the show lasts, the cast members play different parts and wear a total of 98 different costumes. Most of the stage setting and costumes come from the the theatre's wardrobe warehouse, which helps to make the production as economically viable as possible.

Most artists from the cast have never been in a musical before, which provides an added challenge. David Verdaguer and Beatriz Segura stand out among the actors, as well as Lloll Bertran, playing the part of a stylish artist who hasn't managed to achieve success in Hollywood. The cast is completed by Clara Altarriba, Oriol Burés, Enric Cambray, Jordi Coll, Bernat Cot, Albert Mora, Òscar Muñoz, Aida Oset, Victòria Pagés, Marc Pociello, Albert Triol and Àngel Llàcer, the latter in the part of the director of the Hollywood film production in the play.

Staging a Shakespeare adaptation in the Sala Gran has become an established option at the TNC. Last year, the national theatre hosted Joan Ollé's adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream (El somni d'una nit d'estiu, in Catalan), although it only filled 55% of the seats available (albeit some 21,000 people), which had a notable effect on the theatre's budget. Meanwhile, Molt soroll per no res, which has already sold 28% of the tickets available for the scheduled seven-week run.

The Llàcer-Guix duo is quite popular and well-established, and has so far received critical acclaim for various productions, such as El petit príncep, which was a success last year at Barts. The duo will return for Christmas at the Colisseum with Qué?, a daring production for young audiences.

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