Fourth Monkey’s adaptation of As you like it and Much a do about nothing by William Shakespeare have quite a refreshing and unexpected presentation. Taking place in The Electrician’s Shop at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London.
The first of the double bill As you like it, takes on a lively pace inviting the audience to follow the players between the two rooms to watch the scenes between Rosalind (Imogen Parker/ Grace Bouchard) and Celia (Rachel Barnwell/ Esther Machay) then to the wrestling scene with Orlando (Daniel Timoney/ Alex Miller). and Duke’s wrestler, Charles (Lauren Pomfret/ Emily Robinson). So in a sense, we the audience are a part of what takes place. See play summary.
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”
Fourth Monkey’s adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing centers around two romances – Hero (Isabella Verrico/ Alice Goss) and Claudio (Thomas Matthews/ David Elwood), and Benedick (Richard Baker/ Caleb Hughes) and Beatrice (Rebecca Dunne/ Elizabeth McCafferty) – the story follows these very different courtships.
For Hero and Claudio, it’s love at first sight. As with any immediate attraction, they have a lot to learn about each other. Their romance is further impeded by Don John.
The high-spirited Beatrice and Benedick, on the other hand, have known each other for quite some time. It takes a little trickery and prodding from their friends to help them realise and admit their feelings.
All the action in the play takes place around a very long table. When the actors aren’t involved in a scene, they freeze in position. See play summary
There has been many interpretations of the role of the super villain Don John – from “the razor play of John McAndrew’s gratuitously sadistic Don John” in director Helena Kaut-Howson 1997 version of Much a do about nothing to Keanu Reeves portrayal of Don Pedro’s half brother in Branagh’s Much Ado film in 1993, to Elliot Levey giving “coherence to villainous Don John, by making him a prissy, repressed gay man” in Josie Rourke’s SRO West End “Much Ado About Nothing”.
Fourth Monkey reprises the role of Don John’s passionate obsession with Claudio by transforming the character to a woman, (Chloe Wilcox/ Christine McGowan) who sets out to destroy Hero’s reputation. She jealously slanders the poor innocent woman first to convince Claudio that her brother the prince “..woes for himself” and then enlists the aid of henchman Borachio and one of Hero’s gentlewomen disguised as Hero. They stage an encounter that will bring Hero’s virtue into question. Claudio convinced that Hero has been unfaithful to him brutally denounces her at the altar.
The play ends with the exposure of Don John, all the scandals and lies become resolved. There are two marriages, lots of celebration, in Antonio’s word, “all things sort so well” As always, however, Don John remains the outsider to the celebrations.
“I would my horse had the speed of your tongue,
and so good a continuer.
But keep your way, i’ God’s…”
Evolutionary Actor Training for an Evolving Industry.
“We believe the learning and developmental potential of those training in an ensemble setting far outweighs any environment founded in pedestal-type teaching, where the participant enters a rat-race from day one. We strongly advocate the collaborative environment of an ensemble, Fourth Monkey training is very much like one big family who are all striving as one to be the best.”
Based in London, Fourth Monkey offers innovative and truly relevant and inspiring actor training for the contemporary world of performance.
With an emphasis on repertory performance, ensemble and learning and working with regarded and practicing practitioners, our actors in training receive the most comprehensive preparation available for the modern industry in the most supportive of environments.Our actor training is widely considered as a leading contributor to the changing landscape of the performing arts industry as a whole, our training is viewed as unique in it’s delivery and as a leading consideration for those embarking on actor training.
Alongside their comprehensive tuition, our actors in training benefit from travelling, study and performing overseas and throughout the UK, learning via the power of ‘doing’ through repertory performance.
Significantly, we also focus on empowering our actors to collaborate and develop work for themselves, this being a core requirement of the contemporary industry landscape and one we are very sensitive to in regard to ensuring our actors are prepared with a relevant toolkit for today’s industry upon entering it. Upon completion of training our actors go on to work in all mediums of the industry as well as for us, by means of our professional touring company, the Fourth Monkey Ensemble, who are currently supported by Art Council England in the delivery of their touring work.
A number of our graduates also develop new work and opportunities for themselves; some forming their own successful companies, continuing the ensemble ethos instilled in them whilst training with us, whilst others continue to collaborate with the Fourth Monkey Ensemble in the development of new work.
We don’t like to think of our training as a revolution, more an evolution.
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