FDS - Much Ado About Nothing poster

Much Ado About Nothing

A comedy by William Shakespeare
Wednesday 18 June 2003 - Friday 20 June 2003
Sudbury House Hotel, 56 London Street, Faringdon SN7 7AA
Directed by John Taylor

Performances start 7:30 pm. Doors open 30 minutes earlier.
Tickets: £8. Concessions £5. Tickets were available from White Horse Country Wear, 6 Cornmarket, Faringdon.
Please bring your own seating. Picnics from 6pm.

Performed in the grounds of Sudbury House Hotel in aid of the British Heart Foundation.


Much Ado dates from 1598-99 and chronologically falls roughly halfway within the cycle of Shakespeare’s plays, between Henry V and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

much-ado-2003-poster3a much-ado-2003-poster3b The action is set in Messina in Sicily. Leonato, the city’s governor, welcomes Don Pedro, who is Prince of Arragon, and his followers back from the wars, and invites them to stay awhile. Don Pedro’s retinue includes his brother Don John, with whom he has only recently been partially reconciled, young Count Claudio, who has distinguished himself in battle, and Benedick, a confirmed bachelor who has visited Messina on previous occasions.

Leonato has a niece Beatrice, who, like Benedick, is determined not to marry. They are old sparring partners and resume their witty verbal duels. Claudio, meanwhile, has fallen in love with Leonato’s daughter, Hero. Don Pedro offers to woo her on Claudio’s behalf, and a wedding is soon arranged.

Don John, in a spiteful attack on Claudio and his brother, is inveigled by a henchman, Borachio, into a plot to tarnish Hero’s reputation. The local watch overhear Borachio and Conrade discussing the plot and arrest them. The news does not come to light in time to prevent Claudio denouncing Hero at their wedding, however. She faints, and Friar Francis, who was to have married them, suggests that it be put out that she has died, in the hope that Claudio will repent. Beatrice urges Benedick to challenge Claudio to a duel to avenge the insult to her cousin.

Earlier, the friends of Beatrice and Benedick had played tricks on them to make them believe each was in love with the other. As a result, they have softened in their attitudes towards one another. Believing Hero to be dead, a repentant Claudio agrees to marry Leonato’s ‘niece’, who turns out, of course, to be Hero herself: The play closes with the prospect of a double wedding -between Claudio and Hero, and Beatrice and Benedick.


Annabel Holdsworth (Hero), Natasha Price, Claire Stehle (Ladies)


Cleve Forty (Don John), Roger Leitch (Conrade), Peter Webster (Borachio)


Gary Thompson (Benedick), Simon Wisbey (Don Pedro), Adrian Wells (Claudio)


David Field (Antonio), Dave Headey (Leonato)


Elliot Coard, James Campbell, Callum Coard (Boys)


Allyn Richardson (Balthasar)


Gary Thompson (Benedick), Rachel Coward (Beatrice)


Sarah Varnom, Jeni Summerfield, Debbie Lock (Watchmen)


Carolyn Taylor, Joan Lee (Ladies)

… and prior to the performance some of the cast wondered around the town centre making a general nuisance of themselves under the pretence of advertising the forthcoming spectacle (spectacular?) Much-ado hits the town:

much-ado-2003-74much-ado-2003-75 much-ado-2003-80much-ado-2003-79much-ado-2003-81

Photographs by Joan Lee

Cast (in order of appearance):

LEONATO Governor of Messina - Dave Headey
MESSENGER - Wayne Jones
HERO Leonato’s daughter - Annabel Holdsworth
BEATRICE Leonato’s niece - Rachel Coward
DON PEDRO Prince of Arragon - Simon Wisbey
CLAUDIO companion of Don Pedro - Adrian Wells
BENEDICK companion of Don Pedro - Gary Thompson
BALTHASAR a singer - Allyn Richardson
DON JOHN Don Pedro’s brother - Cleve Forty
ANTONIO Leonato’s brother - David Field
CONRADE follower of Don John - Roger Leitch
BORACHIO follower of Don John - Peter Webster
MARGARET attendant on Hero - Mary Mountford-Lister
URSULA attendant on Hero - Sarah Couzens
FIRST BOY - Elliott Coard
DOGBERRY Constable in charge of the watch - Denis Peach
VERGES Dogberry’s deputy - David Campbell
THIRD WATCHMAN - Jeni Summerfield
FRIAR FRANCIS - Nick Tyndall
SEXTON - Claire Stehle
SECOND AND THIRD BOYS - James Campbell; Callum Coard
LORDS / LADIES / ATTENDANTS - Joan Lee; Natasha Price; Claire Stehle; Carolyn Taylor; John Taylor; Kathryn Whiffen

See programme for further details.

Production No.142 (3 shows were performed over 3 days)