The Bard in SoCal
A review of Much Ado About Nothing
Amy Acker as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (Lionsgate)


Discussions of movies like Joss Whedon’s new version of Much Ado About Nothing — filmed in his own well-appointed California home, remarkably enough, during a lull in the making of the ever-so-slightly-more-expensive film The Avengers — often revolve around how successfully Shakespeare can be adapted to non-Elizabethan periods of history, contemporary or otherwise.

But that framing misleads a bit. If the question is whether the Bard’s plays can be successfully picked up and dropped intact into the New York of 1950 or the America of 2013, the answer is mostly no, and the would-be adapter is usually better off keeping the story but writing his own lines — à la West Side Story or even 10 Things I Hate about You. The trick to pulling off a non-16th-century Shakespeare, rather, is to eschew historical exactitude and create a setting that can partake of both the original and some other, half-invented time and place.

August 5, 2013    |     Volume LXV, No. 14

  • Face of the lawless bureaucracy.
  • Obama’s end-run around the Senate, and the Constitution.
  • Felix Rodriguez, freedom fighter and patriot.
  • Hospitals are to blame for obscene health-care costs.
Books, Arts & Manners
  • Charles Crawford reviews Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography: From Grantham to the Falklands, by Charles Moore .
  • Daniel Foster reviews The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution, by David Lefer.
  • Edward Feser reviews Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism, by Robert P. George.
  • Florence King reviews Rose Kennedy: The Life and Times of a Political Matriarch, by Barbara A. Perry.
  • Ross Douthat reviews Joss Whedon’s film Much Ado About Nothing.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .