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Much Ado about Nothing

Arkangel Shakespeare
Length: 2 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Summary

Young Claudio has fallen for the lovely heiress Hero, who also loves him. Their path to the altar looks smooth, until the evil Don John intervenes.

All ends happily, thanks to his incompetent assassins and the lucky discoveries of the bungling constable Dogberry. Central to the play, one of Shakespeare's best-loved comedies, are Beatrice and Benedick, masters of wit and sworn foes to marriage - until a plot is hatched to bring them together.

Beatrice is played by Saskia Reeves, while Samuel West plays Benedick. Paul Jesson is Don Pedro, Jason O'Mara is Claudio, and Abigail Docherty is Hero. Dogberry is played by Bryan Pringle.

Public Domain (P)2014 Blackstone Audio

What listeners say about Much Ado about Nothing

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Darwin8u
  • Darwin8u
  • 29-06-17

Live in thy heart, die in thy lap

A good, light Shakespeare comedy. Many of the usual Shakespeare tropes (mistaken identities, smart women, dumb men, fools, gender roles, marriage folies). It probably isn't top half of my favorites, but that is partially because I have a slight bias against Shakespeare's comedies. I prefer his tragedies and histories. But that is me. And there are plenty of ticket-buying people that disagree. 'Much Ado About Nothing' is still one of the more common plays of Shakespeare to see performing in schools, with Shakespeare companies, and in movies. It is a gambol that apparently plays.

Favorite lines:

“I can see he's not in your good books,' said the messenger.
'No, and if he were I would burn my library.” (Act 1, Scene 1)

“He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man. He that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.” (Act 2, Scene 1)

“Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.” (Act 3, Scene 1)

“I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.” (Act 4, Scene 1)

“For it falls out
That what we have we prize not to the worth
Whiles we enjoy it, but being lacked and lost,
Why, then we rack the value, then we find
The virtue that possession would not show us
While it was ours.” (Act 4, Scene 1)

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Christina Henry
  • Christina Henry
  • 02-11-16

loved it!

The most memorable moment is the beatrice monologue I will now learn for mfa acting auditions! she learns of Benedick's supposed love. thanks!

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for hopelessromantic007
  • hopelessromantic007
  • 20-10-18

Great performance!

This is an unabridged performance of Much Ado About Nothing. It is well performed and a joy to listen to!

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for lavalleem
  • lavalleem
  • 05-11-17

Always love Arkangel

No one does Shakespeare justice like Arkangel performance. The actors, the supplemental music and sound effects, always brings the Globe Theatre to life. A sure fire win each and every time.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Denise
  • Denise
  • 11-05-20

Shakespeare in audio takes some editorial skill

Samuel West is a fine Benedick, but this production phones in some of the adaptive process required for Shakespeare to work well in an audio format, in order to grasp changes in context, as in through sound design, and being able to quickly identify characters through casting distinct voices, some of this just does not seem to be done with an ear towards enhancing the experience properly.

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Profile Image for Homeschooling mom of 9
  • Homeschooling mom of 9
  • 17-04-20

Excellent performance!

This dramatized version was very good. My children and I enjoyed it! I recommend listening with the text on hand to help differentiate between the characters, as sometimes their voices are similar and could be difficult to tell apart.

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Profile Image for Jean Jean
  • Jean Jean
  • 12-03-20

Great actors made Shakespeare pure joy!

Excellent actors with precise diction helped me to understand and thoroughly enjoy this witty play. So happy the music doesn't play over actors lines as in other versions. I listened to this presentation while following along with the written play to help me understand this great work.

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Profile Image for Brian
  • Brian
  • 28-02-20

There are much better ones out there.

This one has lackluster performances that are really “stereotypically Shakespearean“ in their presentational style, which is not a style that works for this, the most prose-heavy of the Bard’s work. The music is also pretty mediocre, and as a “bonus“ they left in the antisemitic line that everybody else changes these days. You’re better off going for the BBC one with David Tennant.

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Profile Image for Kelly H.
  • Kelly H.
  • 06-01-20

Not good for academic projects

This audiobook was good! The voices were animated, there were sound effects, etc. and I am sure it would be great if you were wanting to listen to this for fun.

However, I listened to this for an AP lit project and it was very difficult to use for this purpose. They don’t introduce which voice is which character right off the bat so it is a guessing game as to who is who for the first five mins each time a new character comes in. Also, they do not denote when each scene is finished and worse yet the “chapters” in the audiobook don’t correlate with the acts (there are two chapters but five acts). So, finding spots in the book from the audiobook becomes very difficult. Plus, the stage directions are not read which makes for a more fluid read I’m sure, but makes it harder to understand what is going on in the story.

Overall, I think this would be good for those recreationally listening, but I would strongly recommend against this version for all students.