Love’s Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare
The Rose Playhouse (10 minute walk from London Bridge) until 24th March (
75 minutes Running Time with interval information (eg Runs 2h 20m, one interval)
Review Info: Veronica Stein, March 2nd, 3018.
Frothy fun, spot on
Hidden in plain sight just metres away from the Globe Theatre is the Rose Playhouse, a theatre erected in 1587. What remains is a cavernous, other-worldly space with a bit of room used for its original designated purpose. Unfolds Theatre has brought one of Shakespeare’s lesser loved comedies to the site in this pithy production of Love’s Labour’s Lost.
The King of Navarre and his best companions have sworn an oath of a monkish existence in the name of scholarship: no food, no sleep, no women. The Princess of France is visiting the court on account of some tax business with her maids. In fantastical Shakespeare-ian fashion, everyone falls in love with everyone, but first there must be some mix-ups of spectacular and hilarious fashion. What sets apart Love’s Labour’s apart from the Bard’s other works is one of his only original plots, the probable representation of himself in Berowne (the sardonic and reluctantly in love courtier), and the twist ending. In the right hands it can be delightful, and in this case it is.
Marnie Nash’s direction is spot on from beginning to end: the cuts (though gutting for many of the beloved clowns) are immaculately imperceptible to the unknowing viewer, the gags are appropos but don’t halt the action, and the verse on the whole is brought to the forefront. The cast, aside from delivering said verse with clarity and command, do not labour it (no pun intended) but rather make the contemporarily incoherent conversational. Several multirole with ease. The 1950s setting is not fully incorporated into the text, but it works nevertheless- Nicki Santilli’s choreography as well as the assortment of neck-tie scarves add much to the illusion.
Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Rose Playhouse is a frothy and clever piece that brings much of the best out of the original text and demonstrates exemplars of Shakespeare’s comedic might. At a brisk 75 minutes, it’s an excellent production to introduce youngsters to Shakespeare- and it’s in perhaps the most appropriate venue in London to see one of his plays. A joy for anyone and everyone.
Rosaline: Michelle Barwood
King/ Don Armado: Alec Bennie
Longaville/Moth/Sir Nathaniel: Angus Castle-Doughty
Princess: Julie Cheung-Ihnin
Costard/Boyet: Nicholas Delvalle
Berowne: Joshua Jewkes
Jaquenetta/Maria: Jordan Leigh Harris
Director: Marnie Nash
Assistant Director: Pepe Pryke
Lighting Designer: David Palmer
Choreographer: Nikki Santilli