RSC Much ado Bollywood-style

By IH 15/05 Updated: 29/05 09:24

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Buy photos » Comedian Meera Syal stars as Beatrice in Much Ado about Nothing. (s)

A TOUCH of Bollywood will be brought to the Courtyard Theatre for a staging of Much Ado About Nothing this summer.

Audiences will step into India as soon as they enter the theatre – with awnings and stalls, Indian music, and a large tree dominating the stage - for the production running from July 26 to September 15 as apart of the World Shakespeare Festival.

The colourful RSC production set in modern-day India is directed by Iqbal Khan, and stars Paul Bhattacharjee as Benedick opposite comedian Meera Syal’s Beatrice in Shakespeare’s comedy of love and deceit.

Wolverhampton-born writer, actor and comedian Syal makes her RSC debut. She is best known for her comedy work on TV, radio and film – which includes Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at Number 42.

Bhattacharjee’s previous work for the RSC includes Dominic Cooke’s Arabian Nights and Gregory Doran’s 2002 Jacobethan Season in The Swan and Gielgud Theatres – including Edward III and The Island Princess. His TV credits include Any Human Heart, Eastenders, Waking the Dead and Spooks.

Meera Syal said: "Paul Bhattacharjee is a wonderful actor whom I've known for 20 years. We have only played opposite each other once before - in 1992 in a BBC film called My Sister Wife, which was also my first screenplay as a writer. We played husband and wife then but with a far less happy ending than in Much Ado!"

The set is designed by Olivier Award winning RSC Associate Designer Tom Piper and the Costume Designer is Delhi based Himani Dehlvi.

Visit www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk or call the box office on 0844 800 1111 for tickets and further details.

* Troilus and Cressida – a co-production of Shakespeare’s epic Trojan play between The Wooster Group and the Royal Shakespeare Company and commissioned especially for the World Shakespeare Festival – plays in the Swan Theatre from August 3 to 18.

The production of Shakespeare’s play about love, war and politics was to have been directed by RSC Associate Director Rupert Goold, but due to unforeseen changes in the timing of a planned film he is making in the USA, he has handed the reins over to playwright and RSC Writer in Residence Mark Ravenhill.

Ravenhill said: "Troilus and Cressida is a play about the collision of two cultures – the Greeks and the Trojans. So it’s exciting to re imagine the play with two companies whose histories are as divergent as The Wooster Group and the RSC."

* THE RSC joins forces with creators of theatre for the very young, Oily Cart, for an interactive theatre piece that aims to introduces two to four-year-olds to the magic of Shakespeare for the very first time.

Inspired by The Winter’s Tale, In A Pickle combines live music, beautiful costumes, smells and textures for a multi-sensory journey through the landscape of Shakespeare’s imagination and the music of his language.

Swan Room, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

It can be seen in The Swan Room at the RST from May 23 to June 17.

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Buy photos» Comedian Meera Syal stars as Beatrice in Much Ado about Nothing. (s)

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