Much Ado About Nothing

17 min. Dreamscape. 2018. $38.99. ISBN 9781520092485.
Gr 4–8—The famed argument-prone couple of Beatrice and Benedick are introduced to students, as the lovers Hero and Claudio are thwarted by archvillain Don John's false accusations but saved by constable Dogberry's investigation. Unfortunately, the limited animation here consists of repetitive waving hands and wooden movements. The best feature of this lackluster treatment is the biographical information about Shakespeare and his times. It notes that the master dramatist and poet added 3,000 words to the English language in his 38 plays and 154 sonnets, and students will enjoy learning of his invented words and familiar idioms: "hoodwink" and "watchdog," along with "in a pickle," "forever and a day," and "break the ice." A valuable map of Britain with the Globe Theatre and Shakespeare's birthplace is also included. As an introduction to the Bard's witty play, however, this adaptation is unsuccessful.
VERDICT Perhaps as a remedial review of Shakespearean themes and language, this DVD might have some value. An additional purchase.

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