Love’s Labour’s Lost
Paul Johnson | 03 Jul 2012 12:13pm
In a production which celebrates one of Shakespeare’s most cheerful ensemble plays – no star roles here – every actor has stage presence and does some good work. There are no weak links but, inevitably some cast members are stronger than others. Reuben Milne, for example, is a very charismatic actor who has that rare gift of lighting up the stage. His account of Berowne, one of three students at the court of the King of Navarre trying but failing dismally to forgo the company of women, is a delight. As eavesdropper he is hilarious and as intelligent, sardonic commentator on the absurdity of it all he is compelling. Alongside Berowne, Rob Barton gives us a larger than life Longaville, Neal Dench is a gentler but amusing Dumaine and the elastic faced Martin Prest is convincing as the pragmatic King of Navarre, so easily deflected from his purpose by the arrival of a pretty woman.
Love’s Labour’s Lost has more roles for women than most Shakespeare plays and, in this production Holofernes is also imaginatively played by a woman (Paula Incledon-Webber) as is Moth (petite, engaging Sarah Ward). Meg Dixon as the Princess of France is glitteringly good with her imposing height, well honed verse speaking and control of mood and moment, nicely supported by Paul Silver as a deliciously camp Boyet.
Amongst the low life characters Phil Cox is very good value as the surly, clumsy, puzzled, disingenuous Costard and he works well with Stephanie Dickenson’s petulant Jaquenetta. Tony Champion is fun as the humourless PC Dull too. You can’t categorise the one-off Don Adriano de Armado – one of Shakespeare’s wackier creations. Richard Brown hams him up expertly, squeezing every possible laugh out of his Spanish accent and eccentric preoccupations. Other highlights in this show include the achingly funny Russian scene, the Worthies’ terrible pageant and the elegant dance, accompanied on guitar by Musical Director, Roy Bellas, which finally consolidates peace between the four pairs of lovers. On the other hand, there’s a rack of raised seating and company makes sensible use of front-of-stage mics and a sound system so there are no problems with visibility or out-door audibility. A most enjoyable evening and it certainly won’t be my last time at The George. It’s Macbeth next year.
- : admin
- : 02/07/2012