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Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing


Much Ado About Nothing

ratings:
4.5/5 (48 ratings)
Length:
2 hours
Released:
Nov 1, 2013
ISBN:
9781908650757
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

A classic full cast recording of Shakespeare's well-loved comedy. Cast includes acclaimed Shakespearean actor Sir John Gielgud
Released:
Nov 1, 2013
ISBN:
9781908650757
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest playwright the world has seen. He produced an astonishing amount of work; 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and 5 poems. He died on 23rd April 1616, aged 52, and was buried in the Holy Trinity Church, Stratford.


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What people think about Much Ado About Nothing

4.3
48 ratings / 38 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Much Ado is, by far, my absolute favorite Shakespeare. The humor, the wit, the back and forth (especially between Benedick and Beatrice) just ticks all the boxes for greatness.This particular copy I picked up from a local library sale just before I was supposed to teach Shakespeare to 10th graders as part of my student teaching. I chose Much Ado because it was the lightest of my three choices (the others being Othello and Julius Caesar), but also the play I knew best. As I told my students at the time, Much Ado is a prime example of an early form of the situational comedy, where all the misunderstandings could be easily avoided if only certain parties would talk to one another, but then there really would be Nothing going on.And, always remember, Dogberry is an ass.
  • (5/5)
    Phenomenal scholarly edition.
  • (5/5)
    The play itself is genuinely funny, not quite as funny as A Comedy of Errors, but a better play - the characters are better rounded, and the drama frankly more believable. Beatrice is surely one of the most memorable female roles in Shakespeare (I think only Portia is in the same league). I see from IMDB that her role was played by Penelope Keith in the 1978 BBC version, and by Maggie Smith in a 1967 version which also starred Caroline "Liz Shaw" John as Hero. But the overall frame is good too, the contrast between the Claudia/Hero and Beatrice/Benedick romances, neither of which is straightforward, but complicated in different ways. The Dogberry bits are, for once, pretty integral to the plot, though I suspect it is difficult to integrate them with satisfactory unity of style. (If I were staging it, I'd have Dogberry's guards and maybe even Dogberyy himself visible in the background in all the early crowd scenes, so that they don't appear out of nowhere in Act III.)Branagh's version is generally beautiful to watch and listen to. The good points include the general sense of movement on screen; the quite gorgeous Kate Beckinsale, who dropped out of Oxford to make this (and who can dispute that she made the right decision); the brilliance of most of the cast (especially the elders, Richard Briers, Brian Blessed, and, where she is allowed, Phyllida Law); and above all the sparkling chemistry between Branagh himself and Thompson (indeed, they almost seem to like each other too much at the beginning). The most serious misfire is with Keanu Reeves, who doesn't quite seem to understand what he is doing there except being Bad. I didn't object as much to Michael Keaton as Dogberry, perhaps because he kept inflicting senseless violence on Ben Elton, which is never a bad thing. I did, however, feel that the darker passages of Act IV hit the tone unduly; most of Branagh's cuts to the script are from the funny bits earlier in the play, and I think that unbalances Shakespeare's original plot dynamic, and results a darker piece perhaps than was intended perhaps by Branagh and certainly by Shakespeare.
  • (5/5)
    Charles II wrote "Benedick and Beatrice" beside the title of the play in his copy of the Second Folio, as I have also done where Much Ado is inscribed on my heart.
  • (4/5)
    this is awesome
    this is awesome
    this is awesome
    this is awesome
  • (4/5)
    When you've watch the Kenneth Branagh version of Much Ado as many times as I have every other version sounds off. But I must say it was neat to hear an unedited version of the play. The performers do an excellent job in their respective roles. They are easy to understand and easy to follow.
  • (5/5)
    Excellent actors. Hilarious, and a great time for everyone. Loved it.
  • (5/5)
    A delight; we all need love and comedy. The prototype for every book, play or movie since about lovers, initially repulsed by mutual antagonism and distrust, then drawn together by the sheer force of their fast and witty repartee. "Bene. O God, sir, here's a dish I love not! I cannot endure my Lady Tongue." Harold Bloom isn't wild about it; much the worse for Harry.
  • (3/5)
    This isn't one of my favorites. I find the plot convoluted and the word play between Benedick and Beatrice tiresome.
  • (4/5)
    The Things and the Nothings: "Much Ado About Nothing" by William Shakespeare, Sylvan Barnet, David L. Stevenson Published 1989.


    NB: Read in tandem with the Branagh, Whedon and BBC’s versions. This review draws extensively from my reading of the three movies, as well as from my re-reading of the play.

    Let’s get this out of the way first. “Much Ado about Nothing” is one of my favourite Shakespeare’s plays.

    Each time I re-read it, I always feel Shakespeare uses it as part of the macho banter in the male-dominated culture of this soldier band of brothers, but it also has a serious side in creating a sense of male insecurity and mistrust of women.

    The entire play is underlaid with mistrust of women- Benedick's first line is, "were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her?" Leonato's jest lightly plays with the stereotype of the unfaithful wife and the masculine fear of raising another man's son and Benedick immediately takes him up on it. I think Shakespeare is creating a cast of men who are very much in a male only world and struggle to trust women on any level. It's notable that Don John is a known quantity and yet both Claudio and Don Pedro are quick to believe their eyes and fall for his trap, even though they themselves have just set a similar trap for Benedick and Beatrice and might be expected to stop and think how easily such a thing could be faked. Leonato immediately believes his daughter is corrupt, though only a second's reflection should make him realize that he (and Beatrice) could not have been unaware of a "thousand" midnight meetings between Hero and her imagined swain.

    The rest of this review can be found elsewhere.
  • (3/5)
    A weak story saved by the bickering of Beatrix and Benedick. Their relationship and the scheme to get together was definitely the highlight of the play.
  • (5/5)
    My favorite love story and my favorite Shakespeare. I love the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick.
  • (3/5)
    I enjoyed this more than I thought I would, maybe because I read the modern translation of it. It really made the story easier to understand. I think the part I liked the most was Benedick and Beatrice's relationship. It brought some very much needed humor to the play.
  • (5/5)
    I am not surprised that a tragedy could affect people, no matter how old it was, but I am very surprised that so old a comedy could work so well. I was as moved by this play as I have been by his tragedies. How I regret that it took me so long to read this.
  • (4/5)
    I primarily wanted to read this for the upcoming Joss Whedon movie. I am terrible at understanding Shakespeare by myself. I think I did okay understanding it, and I enjoyed what I understood. But I'll probably have to reread this before the movie with a different edition. Mine was on the kindle and I kept having to go back and forth on the footnotes.
  • (4/5)
    Like Neil Gaiman, Shakespeare's drama is best seen and heard rather than read. There were a realm of dramatic wonders and non-verbal interpretations that didn't exist in the text form. Considering the last time I read anything by Shakespeare was high school, its been long overdue for me. Granted, I have a decent cause to fear older plays. Woman in older literature aren't as well-received nor well-written as the male counterpart. Romeo and Juliet -which I read for SPM- never really give me those warm feeling due to the fact that the two children were barely pre-teen and they're willing to die for each other within days after meeting. So, Shakespeare wasn't my kind of love story.

    Much Ado About Nothing revolve around the relationship between Hero and Claudio, the characters and family, reputations, lies and trickery that would make Puck proud. Its also consisted of a love story between Benedick and Beatrice who was sworn enemy but was tricked by their relatives and eventually they fall in love with each other and mostly used as a comic humor throughout the scenes. But a large part of the story involve the machination by Don John who are determine to wreck the happiness of the characters in the book.
    But it was there were serious terrible overtones of public slut-shaming that made the story painful to be seen without trying to murder somebody. Hated hated words. Apparently these things can be solved by fake deaths and all the dramas and forgiveness and groveling. Pfff. This is also the reason why most production focus on the dynamics between Benedick and Beatrice rather than the actual couple of the story. However, if anyone doing a local production of this story, just ping me up. I want to watch it live.
  • (5/5)
    This is a Shakespearean Comedy of Manners from before the genre was even really a fully developed thing, featuring love affairs, a revenge plot, some humorous incompetence, a faked death, and much more. I'm not a big comedy fan, but this is certainly a good example of the genre at the time from which it came, and I actually quite enjoyed it. As to the edition itself, I found it to be greatly helpful in understanding the action in the play. It has a layout which places each page of the play opposite a page of notes, definitions, explanations, and other things needed to understand that page more thoroughly. While I didn't always need it, I was certainly glad to have it whenever I ran into a turn of language that was unfamiliar, and I definitely appreciated the scene-by-scene summaries. Really, if you want to or need to read Shakespeare, an edition such as this is really the way to go, especially until you get more accustomed to it.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed reading William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing." I suspected I would like it, having seen the Kenneth Branaugh movie many years ago... and the play itself did not disappoint.The play is a lot of "he loves me... he loves me not." With the most interesting characters being Beatrice and Benedick, who hate each other enough that it's got to be love. There are good side plots and the well-work Shakespearean disguise, which actually works fairly well here.
  • (2/5)
    There are some people that absolutely worship Shakespeare as an absolute genius of his time, and therefore find him immortalized for all of time. Personally, I love his work, and at the time time, I don't. I think I adore his tragedies, but find it hard for myself to truly fall in love with any of his other pieces. Are they enjoyable? Yes, yes they very much are. But they just don't wow me like I expect them to.

    That was the case with the famous Much Ado About Nothing, which makes the title quite ironic, don't you think? It was a pleasant read. And as one of Shakespeare's comedies, it did have quite the few entertaining parts. I think it's especially the kind of play you'd want to read if you're looking to sit back, relax, and enjoy some nonsense and chaos that winds up in some expected romance.

    To be perfectly honest, while mildly entertaining, as a whole the play only had one or two parts that absolutely had me cracking grins and laughing. And those were scenes not involving any of the main characters, but rather a bumbling side character that ironically ends up being the only capable one in the entire play filled with supposed royals and super intelligent, conniving people! His name is even weird! Dogberry! And yet he's so gung-ho about everything that he does, and he's so passionate, he constantly says the wrong thing even though we all know what he meant, that you can't help but have a good time watching him somehow manage to work his way through all this "serious" crap going on around him!

    Ah, but besides him, I can't quite find anyone else worth laughing for. Sure there's our main couple that supposedly hate each other but who we all know are gonna end up together at the end. They're kinda entertaining, especially since as usual Shakespeare's words are loaded with wit and bite. *Chuckles*

    Either way, I say this is one to try out. Shakespeare isn't everyone's cup of tea. So don't go off buying it just 'cause a ton of people obsess over the author. Try it out first. If you like it, copies are cheap enough to find. Hope you enjoy!
  • (4/5)
    By my troth, 'twas I indeed
    That, marry, hath enjoyed much
    It filleth in me the need
    To enjoyeth puns and such
    Romantics of wordplayers
    Was virginal territory
    Through the speakers and the sayers
    of scribesmithery's glory
    Appettite is whetted for more from The Bard
    How could life without him have not been very hard?
  • (4/5)
    Love this play and love the rapport and verbal sparring between Benedict and Beatrice almost more than anything other Shakespearean dialogue
  • (5/5)
    I'm surprised that I haven't commented on this one after a previous reading, as it's one of my very favorites. Though I'll admit that the Claudio/Hero plot is pretty infuriating, Beatrice and Benedick have more than enough charm to compensate for Claudio's shallow, opportunistic fickleness and Hero's pathetic lack of spunk. B&B are easily my favorite pair of lovers in Shakespeare – witty, sensitive, thoughtful, complex... just utterly delightful. And this time I had Marjorie Garber's excellent piece to point out some things I'd missed up til now. My favorite new tidbit – not important but a fun, “insider” joke (as in, Shakespeare's original audience would have appreciated it) was about the malapropism spouting Dogberry...”The role of Dogberry was originally played by Will Kemp, the same actor who played Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and we might imagine that spectators would make this connection. Dogberry/Kemp has already be “writ down an ass,”with equal insouciant triumph, in Shakespeare's earlier play.”Garber also explains the connection between “nothing” and “noting,” which I'd previously not “noted.” (the Folger edition also comments on this, saying “There is some evidence that 'nothing' and 'noting' were pronounced alike in Shakespeare's day. If so, this word is yet another pun on 'nothing,' and the title of the play itself could be heard as 'Much Ado about Noting.'”) She elaborates on this a bit, highlighting some of the many places where “noting” is significant. Just another detail that helped me enjoy the play even more. I listened to the Arkangel audio performance while I read, which is, as always, well done, though perhaps lacking the intensity and sparkle that I want with some of this dialogue. Also, I watched (for the umpteenth time) the Tate/Tennant performance, which is my favorite, though the Thompson/Branagh is also brilliant and wonderful (and might be my favorite if I'd just watched it), and I enjoyed the Whedon too. Today I'm planning to watch the Shakespeare Retold version, which I've never seen, but the others in the series have been good, so I have high hopes for this one. Did I mention that this is my favorite of the comedies?
  • (3/5)
    It's a perfectly good play, although the humor almost never works. Shakespeare is just not funny.
  • (4/5)
    Viel Lärm um nichts ist eine Komödie um Liebe und Intrigen von William Shakespeare. Das Buch ist wohl eine der lebendigsten Komödien von William Shakespeare. In dem Intrigenstück geht es vor allem um Wahrheit und Täuschung, Verstellung und Verkleidung, aber auch um Liebe, Freundschaft und Verrat. Auf dem Rückweg von einem siegreichen Kriegszug besuchen Don Pedro, Claudio und Benedikt den Gouverneur von Messina, Leonato. Während sich Benedikt und Leonatos Nichte Beatrice bei jeder Gelegenheit Wortgefechte liefern und sich die gegenseitige Liebe nicht eingestehen, hält Claudio um die Hand der Gouverneurstochter Hero an. Don Pedros Halbbruder Don Juan missgönnt Claudio das Glück und verhindert mit einer Intrige die Hochzeit. Dieser Klassiker ist leicht und flüssig zu lesen und reißt den Leser durch seine witzigen Dialoge mit.
  • (5/5)
    In this Shakespeare comedy, we have two pairs to keep track of: Hero and Claudio, and Beatrice and Bernadick. Hero and Claudio seem well on their way to matrimony until Don John, the bastard brother of the prince Don Pedro, decides to make trouble and break them up. Meanwhile, Beatrice and Bernadick seem more interested in trading barbs than anything else, but their friends decide to set them up and make them fall in love.While this play doesn't have many recognizable one liners that are constantly quoted even once we've forgotten they're Shakespeare, I found myself wondering why Much Ado wasn't one of the plays I studied in high school or college. Because for just pure fun, and funny moments, and witticisms galore, this has suddenly become one of my favorite plays. Plus, it's fairly accessible - I truly barely needed the notes, and it's been a few years since I've read Shakespeare. It's worth reading just for the (very minor) characters of Verges and Dogberry, the witless malapropists. Why haven't I read this before now?
  • (4/5)
    I watched the movie with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson before I read the play. I'm glad I did, because it brought a depth of imagery which enhanced the reading. I enjoy this story very much, so clever, although, my modern sensibilities are quite wounded that Hero would consent so easily to marry Claudio after his great lack of faith in her and his horrible treatment of her. The working of Beatrice and Benedick is a joy to behold.
  • (3/5)
    My favourite Shakespeare! I love the interactions between the characters in this book, very witty. Much emphasis placed on how things can become misconstrued when eavesdropping occurs - lots to take into your own life, whilst being very entertaining. Obviously being Shakespeare though not an "easy read".
  • (4/5)
    I have long held that plays were meant to be performed, not read. This holds true for this play, which is quite a good one. I've seen performance versions before, which significantly helped me follow the play as it was written, but found that without the deliveries of actors, the result largely falls flat compared to the spoken, performed versions. I enjoyed it far more than I would have had I not been familiar with the story through performance.
  • (5/5)
    A fun comedy with love, intrigue, deceit for good and deceit for bad. As a mouthy broad, I love Beatrice and could relate to the hesitation to drop the tough act and be vulnerable.
  • (5/5)
    For the first time I can actually say that I liked a Shakespeare play! This translation helped me get through the text with it's side and end notes. Much Ado About Nothing was a book that I enjoyed reading.It had all the components I like: drama and romance, yet wasn't focused on just one area. The only thing I didn't like was the ending, I thought Benedick and Beatrice had actually changed, but really hadn't. This book deserves it's stars.