2016 is the 400th anniversary of playwright William Shakespeare’s death, and penangpac has celebrated by offering Penangites more Shakespeare plays than usual this year . The latest is Much Ado About Nothing, a comedy that is considered one of Shakespeare’s best, because it combines hilarity with more serious reflections on honour, shame, and the machinations of court politics.

The play tells the story of Benedick, a gentleman soldier, who hates Beatrice, the niece of Messina’s governor. She feels the same about him. But Count Claudio, Benedick’s friend, is smitten by the governor’s daughter, Hero. They plan to marry in a week. To fill in the time until the wedding, they set about tricking Benedick and Beatrice into falling in love with each other. But a disgruntled Don John plots to ruin Hero and halt her wedding.

Our performers this time are The HandleBards, who first visited Penang in March of this year to put on“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. These four male British cycling actors carry with them all of the necessary set, props and costume to perform extremely energetic, charmingly chaotic and environmentally sustainable Shakespeare plays across the globe. They will between them play all 23 actors in the play.

Touring since 2013, the HandleBards have clocked-up over 5,000 miles by cycling around the world to perform Shakespeare and are at the forefront of environmentally sustainable theatre, having won the 2014 Sustainable Practice Award at the Edinburgh Fringe. Over the past three years they have performed to over 15,000 audience members in over 100 different venues in Scotland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Wales, India, Zimbabwe, Myanmar and Singapore, as well as their native England. The troupe have been commended by critics and audiences alike for their highly visual and very accessible style of Shakespeare.

Described as “outrageous… uproariously funny” by Sir Ian McKellen , and “gloriously eccentric and very, very funny. .. beautifully staged tomfoolery, fast-moving and very physical… The text is delivered with clarity and robustness… and no line squandered.” – by The Stage, UK, we are fortunate to have them here in Penang once more.

There will be three performances at penangpac in Straits Quay, on Sunday 23rd October at 3pm and 7pm, and Monday 24th at 10am. Tickets cost RM 79.50 and can be purchased at penangpac or through http://www.ticketpro.com.my/jnp/theatre/1952406-penangpac-Much-Ado-About-Nothing.html.