As seen on BroadwayWorld, Mel Giedroyc will be taking to the stage next spring as Beatrice in the Rose Theatre’s production of Much Ado About Nothing. Further casting has yet to be announced, which puts the Rose Theatre, and director Simond Dormandy, in a unique position: They have the opportunity to finally do the text of Much Ado a long-deserved justice and please cast Sue Perkins as Giedroyc’s Benedick, please.
According to many notable scholars, but really mostly me on my tumblr, Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s most blatantly lesbotic plays, with Beatrice and Benedick possibly the most definitive lesbian pair ever to grace the page, stage, or screen. As one watches the play, one is astounded by the gay drama of it all! Their endless scenes of sexually tense repartee! Their annoyance at their relatives constantly pressuring them to enter into straight relationships! The way they bring the other person up all the time, ostensibly for the sole purpose of talking about how much they hate her!
The text makes the most sense as a play about lesbians, and can, I think, be called groundbreaking representation. For some reason, how ever, directors have thus far refused to cede the validity of Lesbian Beatrice and Benedick Theory (LB&B Theory.) Over four hundred years after the play’s first performances, the lavender love that dares not speak its name has, as far as I know, never asserted itself in a professional production. Sure, David Tennant clearly did his best to highlight Benedick’s lesbianism when he played her opposite Catherine Tate’s Beatrice in 2011, but allyship needs to take one step further here. Simond Dormandy, I am here to say: It’s Time. We need a woman to be cast as Benedick, and I really think that woman should be Sue Perkins, please.
Face up to it: Giedroyc is best known for her work within her comedy partnership with Sue Perkins, a fellow alumna of the Cambridge Footlights Club (for other comedy duos who met as part of Footlights, see the hated Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.) I believe that Mel Giedroyc is going to do a great job in this role no matter what, because she’s great and I support her, but the most important factor to making Much Ado About Nothing work onstage is the chemistry between Beatrice and Benedick. Who is going to have better chemistry with Giedroyc than Perkins?
No one, probably. As ‘Mel and Sue’, the pair have had various adventures, most famously as presenters on The Great British Bake-Off. Perkins is funny, she has great taste in blazers, and she and Giedroyc have excellent chemistry. Who better to play Benedick?
I mean, look at this:
Who are these two women if not lesbians trying to recover from a traumatic experience attending a straight wedding? What is the look on Giedroyc’s face if not that of a woman about to ask her new girlfriend to murder a man for being cruel to her cousin? What is the look on Perkins’ face if not that of a woman who knows she’s going to do it?
Cards on the table, Dormandy. I am probably going to swim across the ocean to see this production no matter who ends up in the role. The thing is, your play is just going to be better if you cast Sue Perkins as Benedick. That’s a fact. Also, I said please. I hope you make the right choice.