LOVE’S LABOURS LOST, 4Star****, London, to 25 03


Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London in repertoire with Much Ado About Nothing until 25 March, 2017.
2hr 30 mins with one interval.

TICKETS: 020 7930 8800

Review: Tom Aitken 17 December

Witty production, and first class performances
There is great affection as well as wit and sparkle in this Royal Shakespeare Company production of one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays. The settings, (the courts of Navarre and France) are very consciously modelled on an English manor house of the sort found in Charlecote Park near Stratford Upon Avon. Simon Higlett’s octagonal tower looks equally convincing as part of the interior decoration in the King of Navarre’swell-stocked library as it does in the scenes played out in its garden.

The performance I saw (the first since it moved to London from Stratford) took a little time to settle into top gear, but from the beginning it was stylishly acted and good to look at, and the various strands in the plot and the characters were clearly established.

The King of Navarre and three of his male companions have sworn an oath become earnest students for three years, fasting and separate themselves from the company of women. Their situation takes off into high comedy when the Princess of France and her attendants arrive as ambassadors from her father the king. The king, of course, falls in love with the princess.

Their oath goes into abeyance ‘of mere necessity’; courtship and feasting become the orders of the day.

I will not select a few performances for especial praise. In all fairness I would have to mention virtually everybody – marvellous acting all round.

This is play bears a number of resemblances to Much Ado About Nothing which came a little later. The two plays were paired at Stratford and the Chichester Festival this year and are now playing together at London’s Haymarket. I have not seen Much Ado yet but will certainly try to do so.

King of Navarre: Sam Alexander
Berowne: Edward Bennett
Don Armado: John Hodgkinson
Princess of France: Leah Whittaker
Rosaline: Lisa Dillon
Katharine: Rebecca Collingwood
Maria: Paige Carter
Holofernes: Steven Pacey
Sir Nathaniel’ a curate: John Arthur
Dull, a police constable
Costard, a gardener
Jaquenetta, Emma Manton
Moth, a hall boy
Butler: Nick Harris

Director: Christopher Luscombe
Designer: Simon Higlett
Music: Nigel Hess
Lighting: Oliver Fenwick
Sound: Jeremy Dunn
Choreographer: Jenny Arnold

2016-12-20 10:25:47

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