Much Ado about Nothing

This is the first edition of Much Ado About Nothing to focus wholly on the play in performance. John Cox investigates major issues and trends in the production of this popular work, analysing successive reinterpretations of the play in relation to their cultural and ideological contexts. Gender issues are central to the study, which highlights in striking ways the changing constructions of womanhood in performances from Shakespeare’s time to the present. A commentary alongside the New Cambridge Shakespeare edition of the text recreates in lively detail interpretations of each passage in a variety of British, American, Canadian and other productions, including film and television versions. A full introduction also examines the problematic relation of dark and comic elements in a wide range of performances. An essential resource for students, teachers, actors and directors, this is an illuminating book for all theatregoers.

• Based on the authoritative New Cambridge Shakespeare text of the play • Covers British, American and Canadian productions • Examines film and TV versions of the play • Foregrounds gender issues • Analyses productions in the context of the culture and ideology of the relevant period • Covers productions from Shakespeare’s time to the present day


List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; List of productions; 1. Introduction; 2. Much Ado About Nothing and commentary; 3. Bibliography; 4. Index.


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‘Shakespeare in Production … is … ideally suited to people like me: people as interested in the stage history of a Shakespearean play as in its text. What distinguishes these editions, and makes them of particular interest to drama and theatre departments, is their unique concentration on theatrical production.’ Studies in Theatre Production

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\' ... interesting things to say on structure ...\' Plays International