Linford Johnson: “I think we as humans can learn a lot from watching and reading his work.”

©NOBBY CLARK
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nobby@nobbyclark.co.uk

Typically described as a romantic comedy, Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is brought to The Lowry, Tue 7 – Sat 11 May, by Northern Broadsides and New Vic Theatre. Actor Linford Johnson plays the character Claudio, a young soldier, with many accolades, returning from war. We catch up with him before he comes to The Lowry in the bard’s renowned classic.

‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is one of Shakespeare’s greatest romantic comedies. What’s your favourite modern day ‘Rom Com’ and why?

My favourite modern day Rom Com… hard to choose one, however I remember I loved watching Shallow Hal, when I was growing up. It’s Jack Black at his best, and not only is it hilarious, it has a great message too.

Thought to have been written in 1598 and 1599 by Shakespeare, how has this production been updated for a modern day audience? 

This production has been modernised and is set post world war 2. In this case, Benedick, Claudio, and Don Pedro (all members of the RAF) are returning Soldiers.

The Women are dressed as Land Girls, and the returning soldiers in RAF Uniform. The music used throughout the production is appropriate to this period, so many people will recognise some familiar tunes. For example, ‘Don’t sit under the apple tree’ by the Andrews Sisters.

Inspired by the North of England’s diverse voices, cultures and heritage what regional twist has Northern Broadsides put on this production?

There is no specific regional setting for this production. However, as you’ll hear if you watch the production, there a lot of Northern Accents. Most people are using their natural accents, which I think adds authenticity to the production, and is lovely to hear.

You play the character Claudio a young soldier, with many accolades, returning from war. What’s your favourite line?

Claudio falls in love with Hero which is when the drama unfolds… I won’t give away too much for anyone who isn’t familiar with the story. I’d say Claudio is passionate, impulsive, naive, impressionable, and cocksure, so basically he’s a young man! Underneath it all, however, he has a good heart.

My favourite line is: ‘Oh Hero, what a hero hadst thou been’

Why is it important that we continue to host Shakespeare’s work on our stages?

It’s important to continue to share Shakespeare’s work, because the stories he has written are amazing. The language is astonishing and it encourages us to use our brain. I think we as humans can learn a lot from watching and reading his work. When done well, I think Shakespeare is accessible for all, and I certainly believe we have achieved that with this production of Much Ado about Nothing. All of that aside, it makes for a great night out, and we all like to be entertained!

Much Ado About Nothing’ is brought to The Lowry by Northern Broadsides and New Vic Theatre. The show will run at the Salford venue Tue 7 – Sat 11 May 2019. For more information and tickets visit the website or call box office on 0843 208 6000.

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