Shakepeare, Chanson and Victorican Gothic in Hampstead

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For a magical evening of theatre, head up to St Stephen’s in Hampstead to see Antic Disposition’s production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

The former church of St Stephen’s has been recently restored and reopened as a theatre space. The building is absolutely beautiful, having stained glass windows, gothic arches and decorative carvings in abundance.

When I arrived at St Stephen’s, La Vie En Rose wafted sweetly from the rafters and the late evening sun cast its warm light through the richly coloured glass, creating a wonderful atmosphere.  The original church pews are long gone and the seating for this play is French café style, with chairs placed at little tables covered with red and white gingham tablecloths. I chose a glass of chilled rosé to accompany the first half and shared a table with a nice lady and her daughter.

The eccentrically dressed men and women who had been standing outside St Stephen’s, wandered inside and settled around the long wooden trestle table in the middle of the aisle. They chatted quietly and the play began.

Much Ado About Nothing is classic rom-com set in Messina. Antic Disposition’s production, relocated to the post-war celebrations of 1945, is minimally staged and beautifully acted by the adept cast. The story follows the eventful courtship, betrayal and marriage of sweet Hero and romantic Claudio, however I found the lust-loathe relationship of fiery Beatrice and quick-witted Benedick much more interesting and adored their cruel banter. The audience lapped up the sparkling dialogue, laughed at the slapstick bits and were sad when Don John’s wicked plot unfolded.

The whole experience was very absorbing, and perching on my little chair right next to the action, it was hard to resist jumping up and joining in!

Do you have a favourite unique or unusual theatre in London?


  1. jose adams says:

    Antic Disposition did The Importance of Being Earnest a couple of year’s ago at the Jermyn Street Theatre. Fantastic production – these guys are good. And the venue sounds beautiful. One for the diary.

  2. Matt Holland says:

    I thought that was Jim Carrey at first…

  3. Matt Holland says:

    The Southwark Playhouse is pretty cool – it’s in the arches under London Bridge station. Very dark and atmospheric, it would work best with dark & mysterious material – not somewhere to put on a comedy!