"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Friday, March 13, 2015
LOVE'S LABOURS LOST
Shakespeare Company at the RSC Theatre, Stratford on Avon
may see a better acted, more entertaining Love's Labours, but surely
not a more stylish one. The concept here – Edwardian England, a
great country house, basking in the sun on the brink of war.
house is Charlecote Park, scene of Shakespeare's youthful poaching,
allegedly. It's also used for the RSC's companion piece, Love's
Labours Won [Much Ado to you and me], set after the war, with
Charlecote now a hospital for the wounded …
Luscombe's light-hearted production is full of delightful details.
The “mad-cap lord” Berowne [Edward Bennett] begins his “three
years fast” in the comfortably
appointed library; it ends, prematurely, in mutual defeat up on the
leads, Brideshead-fashion, in a brilliantly conceived scene. A strong
cast, including Michelle Terry as a
Rosaline, and John Hodgkinson's Don Armado, at first Wilde-ly
then at the grand piano joining Peter McGovern's perky Moth in a
bizarre duet So Well I Love Thee.
Great War is just visible on the horizon – there are poppies by the
fence, their petals raining down on Mars and Hector. This in the Nine
Worthies sequence, ingeniously done by the “Navarre Players” as