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Publisher's 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
  • Performance
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • 2017-06-29

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)

12 people found this helpful

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  • hopelessromantic007
  • 2018-10-20

Great performance!

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

3 people found this helpful

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  • lavalleem
  • 2017-11-05

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.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christina Henry
  • 2016-11-02

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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  • Nobody's wife
  • 2022-04-08

Dissatisfied

Much Ado about Nothing is by far my absolute favorite play by Shakespeare. I was really looking forward to hearing this since I have never met a rendition that I didn’t like… Until this one. Very disappointing.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-12-31

Loud music but good actors

I listen to this while falling asleep and I love it! The music is loud (which docked it a little bit for me) but the performance is well-done and distinct and this is my favorite Shakespearean play! It has comedy, drama, romance, and a little murder mystery moment. It's got everything!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-12-09

keeping the characters clear

Delightfully written (no surprise- lol) and marvelously well performed but unless you know the play very well, its hard to keep the characters clear during the dialogue (with no playbill to reference) Perhaps each voice actor could state their own character's name up front as an intro to tie the voice to the character so that you could recognize each of the voices better, throughout. Or include a little stage direction as to which characters are in the scene. "scene opens with Beatrice and Hero in the courtyard at don Leonardo's castle" etc. I guess its best to read the play before listening to this.

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  • Mrs. D.M. Gibbs
  • 2021-07-12

Great Performance! Exceptional aid for study!

Voices and acting are great but I would recommend a buying the hardcopy for reference.

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  • Benjamin
  • 2021-03-30

Faster than I thought

I loved how fast paced it was read because this book was required for one of my classes.

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  • Denise
  • 2020-05-11

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.