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Publisher's Summary

Young Claudio has fallen for the lovely heiress Hero, who also loves him. Their path to the altar looks smooth, until the evil Don John intervenes.

All ends happily, thanks to his incompetent assassins and the lucky discoveries of the bungling constable Dogberry. Central to the play, one of Shakespeare's best-loved comedies, are Beatrice and Benedick, masters of wit and sworn foes to marriage - until a plot is hatched to bring them together.

Beatrice is played by Saskia Reeves, while Samuel West plays Benedick. Paul Jesson is Don Pedro, Jason O'Mara is Claudio, and Abigail Docherty is Hero. Dogberry is played by Bryan Pringle.

Public Domain (P)2014 Blackstone Audio

Featured Article: 50+ Timeless Shakespeare Quotes


From knock-knock jokes to the wild goose chase, we owe many of our most-used and best-loved phrases to the talent of the Bard. His words are timeless in their direct wisdom, their witty humor, and their surprising applicability to modern life: its nature, its purpose, and its pitfalls. We’ve collected some of our favorite William Shakespeare quotes for when you want to think about life’s big questions, wax poetic on the nature of love, or just need a good laugh. Immerse yourself in these Shakespeare quotes to dive into the comedies and tragedies penned by the Bard of Avon.

What listeners say about Much Ado about Nothing

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Live in thy heart, die in thy lap

A good, light Shakespeare comedy. Many of the usual Shakespeare tropes (mistaken identities, smart women, dumb men, fools, gender roles, marriage folies). It probably isn't top half of my favorites, but that is partially because I have a slight bias against Shakespeare's comedies. I prefer his tragedies and histories. But that is me. And there are plenty of ticket-buying people that disagree. 'Much Ado About Nothing' is still one of the more common plays of Shakespeare to see performing in schools, with Shakespeare companies, and in movies. It is a gambol that apparently plays.

Favorite lines:

“I can see he's not in your good books,' said the messenger.
'No, and if he were I would burn my library.” (Act 1, Scene 1)

“He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man. He that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.” (Act 2, Scene 1)

“Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.” (Act 3, Scene 1)

“I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.” (Act 4, Scene 1)

“For it falls out
That what we have we prize not to the worth
Whiles we enjoy it, but being lacked and lost,
Why, then we rack the value, then we find
The virtue that possession would not show us
While it was ours.” (Act 4, Scene 1)

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Always love Arkangel

No one does Shakespeare justice like Arkangel performance. The actors, the supplemental music and sound effects, always brings the Globe Theatre to life. A sure fire win each and every time.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

loved it!

The most memorable moment is the beatrice monologue I will now learn for mfa acting auditions! she learns of Benedick's supposed love. thanks!

2 people found this helpful

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Great performance!

This is an unabridged performance of Much Ado About Nothing. It is well performed and a joy to listen to!

1 person found this helpful

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Great Performance! Exceptional aid for study!

Voices and acting are great but I would recommend a buying the hardcopy for reference.

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Faster than I thought

I loved how fast paced it was read because this book was required for one of my classes.

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Shakespeare in audio takes some editorial skill

Samuel West is a fine Benedick, but this production phones in some of the adaptive process required for Shakespeare to work well in an audio format, in order to grasp changes in context, as in through sound design, and being able to quickly identify characters through casting distinct voices, some of this just does not seem to be done with an ear towards enhancing the experience properly.

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Excellent performance!

This dramatized version was very good. My children and I enjoyed it! I recommend listening with the text on hand to help differentiate between the characters, as sometimes their voices are similar and could be difficult to tell apart.

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Great actors made Shakespeare pure joy!

Excellent actors with precise diction helped me to understand and thoroughly enjoy this witty play. So happy the music doesn't play over actors lines as in other versions. I listened to this presentation while following along with the written play to help me understand this great work.

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    3 out of 5 stars

There are much better ones out there.

This one has lackluster performances that are really “stereotypically Shakespearean“ in their presentational style, which is not a style that works for this, the most prose-heavy of the Bard’s work. The music is also pretty mediocre, and as a “bonus“ they left in the antisemitic line that everybody else changes these days. You’re better off going for the BBC one with David Tennant.