EVER wondered what Shakespeare’s work would have been like if it was set in the 1980s?

Well look no further than the Walled Gardens, the little hideaway at the Down Grange Sports Complex as the cast of Much Ado About Nothing are currently bringing the play of the same name into a period of classic pop music and bad hair cuts.

As has become tradition during the Basingstoke Festival, the Proteans have once again stamped their unique mark on one of Shakespeare’s much-loved tales.

For the evening this picturesque area of Basingstoke was transformed into Messina, where two tales of love and treachery which run side-by-side.

Firstly, of Claudio (William Jones) who is tricked into rejecting his bride to be Hero (Sally Lamacraft-Perrett) and secondly of Benedick (Martin Palmer) and Beatrice (Clare Vickery) who are tricked into confessing their love for one another.

Even though the narrative does centre around these four characters, the Proteans structure the performance so that every single member of the ensemble have their moment to shine – event Servant played by Richard Morgans, who got several laughs while setting up the wedding scene.

But it was the almost one-upmanship between Palmer and Vickery, where the pair discovered their ‘love’ for each other, which brought about the most laughs.

Hiding among the audience, the pair took it in times to dart between picnics and hide themselves from sight – picking up the odd snack along the way.

If the costumes weren’t enough to transport you back to the 80s, director Mary Swan cleverly weaved in some of the decade's most famous songs throughout the performance to punctuate certain elements, working particularly well when Don Jon (Gordon Sutton) sang Billy Idol’s White Wedding as his evil plans unfold before the audience.

With the vast space of the Walled Gardens at their disposal the Proteans made use of every bush, path and tree to really immerse themselves and their audience into the environment.

Much Ado About Nothing is running as part of the Basingstoke Festival all weekend, with performances at 2pm today (June 29) and 2pm tomorrow (June 30).

For more information visit proteustheatre.com.