One of the things that we as a class have discussed a lot is the desire for a production or adaptation of Much Ado to be fluid with the context it is in. The Shakespeare in the park production felt natural, because each of the actors inhabited the character and their delivery of the lines felt natural. When you were watching them, it barely felt like they were saying Shakespeare, it felt more like poetry. The same was true of Emma and Clueless, even though they did not keep the language of the text, the words used felt like they fit the context. In fact, many people disliked Emma, because they felt that she was not an accurate representation of Beatrice’s wit. Clueless portrays Emma/Beatrice as a bit of a brat, but her language and actions somehow evokes empathy from the audience. In the 2012 version, there was no connection to the characters. They took away much of the comedy from the show, and so often the production felt forced. Overall, I think there were interesting adaptations that they made, but everything felt a bit off, from the black and white, to the costuming, the plot felt out of place with the context.
Even aside from the discordance of the language and setting, I had complaints about some of the plot points. Shakespeare fails to reveal to the audience why Don John is so antagonistic, and this production never addresses it, and in fact makes it more confusing. Don John and Conrad arrive in handcuffs, but that is never explained. Similarly, there are some artistic decisions that make zero sense. Why was Claudio in a pool after the party, and where did Don John and his lackeys come from. It was a wholly strange experience, even if parts of it were interesting.