But after following Nothing Much To Do for several weeks now, I have to say that it's one of my favorite current webseries!
|[Via their Facebook]|
"Let me explain. No there's no time; let me sum up." Here's the synopsis:
Set in a contemporary New Zealand high school. 'Nothing Much To Do' follows the life of Beatrice as she navigates her way through a new city with the help of her best friend and favourite cousin Hero, her school friends, and her ever frustrating rival, Benedick.The show's creators are "The Candle Wasters" - a team of four young women: Claris Jacobs, Elsie Bollinger, Minnie Grace, and Sally Bollinger. They write, direct, and produce while their talented and colorful cast carry out the show brilliantly! Using a very realistic vlogging style, this team is telling the story of Much Ado about Nothing across 3 YouTube channels and some transmedia content - particularly Beatrice's twitter. But you can catch the whole thing in this one playlist, which makes it delightfully easy.
|[Hero and Beatrice - via]|
On top of that, the casting is top notch and the setting of "Messina High" works perfectly! Beatrice, played by Harriet Maire, is a perfectly believable vlogger - witty, part self-deprecating, more-parts confident of her own perspective. Benedick, Jake McGregor, is both odd-ball British Whovian and someone desperate to get a laugh from his friends, Pedro and Claudio. Leo becomes Hero's older brother. Dogberry and Verges have their own Sherlock-styled channel, "The Watch." And after a successful "Vote for Pedro" campaign (yes!), Pedro Donalson becomes Student Body President of Messina High. So, of course, he hosts a costume party at his place - cue the masquerade!
Like other successfully transmuted adaptations, NMTD walks the fine line of being self-referential without being self-absorbed. In one early video, which also serves as the cast's introduction, they have Balthazar quote a line from Mumford and Sons which is in fact inspired by... Much Ado. They've worked in several of the original lines or at least original arguments - most notably in Benedick's episode "Olives" based on the original lines from II.3.209-210 "but doth not the appetite alter? A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age." This is the type of adaptation that causes Shakespeare devotees to flip back through their yellowed paperback and still inspires new-comers to maybe look into what all this "ado" is about.
|[Much Ado - Mumford - Nothing Much To Do]|
Another strength of the show thus far has been the high-school depictions. Up until now, the majority of web-series I've been following feature all post-high school characters with post-high school problems (Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Autobiography of Jane Eyre, Emma Approved, Classic Alice, New Adventures of Peter and Wendy). But NMTD features intelligent, rather emotionally developed teenagers - which is a refreshing representation. But it also captures little ticks about teens in a current way: Beatrice admires pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch, Hero is caught reading The Fault in our Stars, the characters reference several contemporary bands, the slang feels natural, and where Hero wears Top Shop, Beatrice sports a Grumpy Cat T-shirt. These are tumblr-ific teens. They are smart. They are aware. And they have wonderful character arcs ahead of them.
So is Nothing Much To Do all "hey nonny nonny"? Well, yes. But while I love it, I have to mention that - being Shakespeare - this adaptation is far from PG. But for more mature audiences, this is an incredible take on a classic tale. I look forward to seeing how they tackle certain plot points like Hero's "death" and the "weddings" as those will prove to be tricky. But I have been loving everything so far. Cheers and keep up the excellent work.
If I've sufficiently peaked your interest, start here:
And if you're looking for something slightly different, consider one of the other web-series adaptations I've reviewed: Classic Alice and Emma Approved.