Much Ado About Nothing  
Much Ado About Nothing

by William Shakespeare

Directed by Jean Carr and John Morton

Tuesday 16th - Saturday 20th May, 2017

The Tower Theatre performing at the Bridewell Theatre, off Fleet Street

Photography by Robert Piwko

Cast List

Beatrice : Sarah Evans
Benedick : Shane Sweeney
Played by Magnus Mariuson on Saturday 20th matinée
Leonato : Simon Taylor
Antonio : Jon Gilmartin
Don Pedro
: James McKendrick
Claudio : Paul Isaacs
Don John : Martin Shaw
Borachio : Elliott Bhana
Conrade : Jonathan Brandt
Hero : Asma Mani
Margaret : Juliette Chrisman
Ursula : Sarah Topley
Dogberry : John Chapman
Verges : Peter Novis
Balthasar : Adam Sutcliffe
Friar : Adam Sutcliffe
Messenger : Laurence Warner
Watchmen : Jorge Berlanga, Laurence Warner, Magnus Mariuson
Sexton : Martin Shaw


Production Team

Directors : Jean Carr and John Morton
Set Design : Max Batty
Costume Design : Jean Carr and Lottie Mundy
Lighting Design : Robin Snowdon
Sound Design : Rob Hebblethwaite
Dances arranged by Lindsay Royan

Stage Manager : Ann Watchorn
Assistant Stage Managers : Harriet Snell, Rachel Bothamley
Lighting Operator : Grainne Hallinan
Sound Operator : Rob Hebblethwaite
Set Construction and Get-in : Keith Syrett, Michael Bettell, Jude Chalk, John McSpadyen, Phillip Ley, Laurence Tuerk, Max Batty
Props construction : Jean Carr

This is Sarah Evans's third Tower show, having previously played Rosalind in As You Like It and Lisa in Jump to Cow Heaven. Other shows include Boeing Boeing and House / Garden with SEDOS, Blackbird (Una), After Mrs Rochester (Ella) and Spring Awakening (Wendla). Sarah also has a theatre company and has produced, directed and choreographed musicals Fame and Footloose.
This is Shane Sweeney's second production with the Tower Theatre and his second Paris Tour - he played Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew in 2013.
An award winning producer, his acting experience is primarily in film, having starred in 2010's Travellers, 2011's Till Sunset, and 2012's The All Dayer. One Thing Left To Do, a film he wrote, directed, produced and starred in (which was filmed in both London and South Africa) was released in 2013.
Simon Taylor worked in theatre and film, including Doctor Faustus (with Burton & Taylor) and Restoration, Costard in Love's Labours Lost, and Hamlet at the Oxford Playhouse. Previous amateur appearances include Benedick, Fagin, Goldberg (The Birthday Party), Coriolanus, Lear and Kent (King Lear). Simon has directed nearly 100 shows, several of them for his own company, Winchester Players, at the Minack. He is enjoying his third role for the Tower and looking forward to his second Paris tour.
Jon Gilmartin is hugely excited to have been offered his first role in a Tower Theatre production. He auditioned in response to the Directors' plea "Save Antonio" when the company were already three weeks into rehearsals. He turned his hand to acting in recent years and trained at The Poor School and RADA. His stage première was in 2015 in a new play The Backward Fall at the Courtyard Theatre in London. He has featured in a number of short films, most recently The Fox which was nominated for the Earls Court Film Festival Award for best short film in 2016. He has also made a number of vocational training videos for I CAN, the children's communication charity, as well as some voice-over work for their BBC Christmas appeal film. He tentatively tried his hand at directing a poetry reading evening for a book launch in 2014 but coyly says he still prefers to be directed than to direct others.
This is James McKendrick's sixth Tower production; he played several parts in Docotor Faustus, Schu and Eddie in The Return of the Marionettes, Mr. Waterton in Mother's Day, the tragic postman Yegor in Dying For It and Professor Leopold Nettles in Largo Desolato. Other acting credits include Dinner (Mike), Glengarry Glen Ross (Shelley Levene), Separate Tables (John Malcolm), The Real Inspector Hound (Birdboot), Antigone (Creon) and 45 Minutes To Go (Jerry), for which he received best actor award at the Waltham Forest Festival. He has directed Jim Cartwright's Road, Two and Bed, the latter receiving best play and best director awards at the 2013 Waltham Forest Festival. He has also performed at the Edinburgh, Brighton and Prague Fringe Festivals and in productions that transferred to the Orange Tree Theatre and Riverside Studios.
Paul Isaacs is very happy to be re-joining the Tower for the trip to Paris, having played Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 2012. Recently he has been involved in Chekhov's Platonov at Theatro Technis with the workshop company Acting Gymnasium, playing a quack doctor with a drinking problem. Prior to that he appeared with the same company as Lord Illingworth in A Woman of No Importance. He's appeared previously with Tower as Hal in Loot, Alan in The Slab Boys, a demonic aircraft passenger in Terrorism and as a gunpowder plotter in 5/11. Roles with other companies include Oliver in The Pride, Mitchell in The Little Dog Laughed (both SLT), a stint doing theatre in education in Spain, as well as children's theatre in Hansel and Gretel (Colour House Theatre).
This is Martin Shaw's ninth show with the Tower Theatre since he joined the Company in 2011. He has toured to Paris with The Taming off the Shrew and As You Like It and has played at various venues in London. Most recently he played Malcolm in the Tower's successful production of Bedroom Farce. Having mostly played the comedic roles, Martin is looking forward to showing his bad side playing one of the Bard's most unredeemable characters.
Elliott Bhana moved to London in 2010 and this is his fifth play with the Tower Theatre. He's been doing drama for about 20 years, starting at school where he gained an A level in Theatre Studies. His previous roles include Everyman in the Summoning of Everyman, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet, Huld and the Inspector in The Trial, Falkland in The Rivals, the (slightly) insane Dr Rance in What the Butler Saw and James Larrabee in Sherlock Holmes.
Jonathan Brandt was born in Paris; he trained at The Bridge Theatre Training Company. When in France he played Orgon in Tartuffe, Arlecchino in Women's Gossip, Bacchus in The Frogs and Monsieur Hochepaix in Ne te promène donc pas toute nue. In England, he appeared in Romeo and Juliet, played Caliban in The Tempest and was Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. He also played Man in Laughing Wild and was Cinderella's father, a dwarf and Clever Hans in Grimm Tales. Last year he did voice-over work for the BBC Radio 4 series Home Front. He also directed his first theatre production, The Empire Builders, which was performed at the Hen and Chickens theatre.
This is Asma Mani's second production with the Tower - she played Juliet last year in London and Paris. Her previous parts include Isabella in Measure for Measure (very unhappy), a double-crossing hooker in SEDOS' new writing festival (smugly happy, pretending to be unhappy), the wife in Blood Wedding (deeply unhappy), Annelle in Steel Magnolias (happy once she finds religion), Cherie in Bus Stop (as happy as a scarlet woman can be), and Juliet (sublimely happy - and then terminally unhappy). She is looking forward to returning to Paris, finally playing someone well-adjusted.
Juliette Chrisman has been active in London amateur theatre for more years than she will admit. Previous roles include Mr Myers QC in Witness for the Prosecution, Tourvel in Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing with SEDOS; Helena in All's Well that Ends Well, Freda in Dangerous Corner and Lysistrata in The Apple Cart with KDC; and Cassius in Julius Caesar with Network Theatre. She loves Shakespeare, and as well as acting, she enjoyed producing Much Ado About Nothing and The Merchant of Venice and directing Julius Caesar as one of the founders of SEDOS's Shakespeare in the City strand. Juliette is very much looking forward to playing somewhat against type as Margaret and in her first production with the Tower Theatre.
Sarah Topley first appearance for the Tower Theatre was in Foxfinder two years ago. Before that she spent 7 years in the Spread Eagle Players dramatic society before galavanting off to Singapore for 23 months of dedicated eating and travelling. Favourite roles in the past include Lady Macbeth, Nibs in The Two of Us, Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Catherine in The Memory of Water. She has also worked behind the scenes in many productions and directed Confusions.
John Chapman has been involved in about 150 productions over more decades than he cares to recall. At this time last year he was extremely surprised and very honoured to find himself playing Nick Bottom at both the Barbican and at Stratford-upon-Avon in the Royal Shakespeare Company/Tower production of A Midsummer Night's Dream : A Play For The Nation. This was an unparalleled experience which he promised not to bang on about during rehearsals for this current Shakespeare play - unless anyone is foolish enough to ask, of course. He is looking forward to playing Bottom's first cousin, Dogberry, and hopes that Parisians (and, for that matter, Londoners) will understand what the character is going on about. If they do perhaps they would be kind enough to let John know.
Peter Novis has been with the Tower since 1988. Favourite roles include Herman Glogauer in Once in a Lifetime; the Dada in Entertaining Mr Sloane; several parts in the annual Tower Shakespeare productions in Paris; an Ugly Sister in Cinderella; and Mr Dick in David Copperfield. He has also directed for the Tower in London, Paris and Cornwall.
Adam Sutcliffe is never happier than when trying to multi-task. He sang, strummed, danced, and occasionally acted, in the Tower's productions of As You Like It (London and Paris), and The Producers (London and Cornwall). Elsewhere he was a singing Mock Turtle in the musical Alice, twenty-one different characters in Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, Frank in Educating Rita and Leontes in The Winter's Tale. A very sedentary lawyer by day, Adam is delighted to be heading for his seventh overseas acting tour.
Laurence Warner was plucked out of his Tower Theatre company audition and immediately offered a part in this production. He is delighted to be performing in Paris in his debut theatre appearance. Having extensive experience in public speaking, he hopes to transfer these skills onto the stage, and is sure he will learn a huge amount surrounded by such an accomplished group of people.
Jorge Berlanga recently joined the Tower Theatre and this is his first production with the company. He came to London just four months ago after studying architecture in Spain, hoping to start a succesful new career in drama.
Magnus Mariuson moved to London in 2015 and has since performed in theatre and film locally and internationally. This is his first production with the Tower Company, and after originally not being able to audition for the play, he followed up on a plea to understudy Benedick to give his full support to his new found companionship. He has appeared on screen in the Estonian WWII epic 1944 (2015) and in the newly finished drama ADAM (2017). On stage he's portrayed Antonio in The Duchess Of Malfi and Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing at LAMDA.
John Morton has been a Tower member for 18 years. His first role was Crestwell in Relative Values. He has played a variety of Shakespearean roles for the Tower including Polonius, Leontes, Enobarbus and Gloucester in Lear. Other parts include Voysey in The Voysey Inheritance and Baron Hardup in Cinderella. For the Tower, he has directed Romeo and Juliet, Heartbreak House, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream and As You Like It. He loves get-ins, his new granddaughter [alas, living in Nepal] and Burnley FC.
Since joining the Company Jean Carr has worked on 38 Tower productions in a wide range of capacities. This is the fourth time she has co-directed the Tower's annual Shakespeare play in London and Paris and is still amazed by the genius of lines written four hundred years ago.