Love's Labour's Lost and Love's Labour's Won

Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford

Review by Pat Smith


BACK to back Shakespeare – now there’s a test!

But The RSC passed with flying colours. The same actors played characters in Love’s Labour Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won on the same day (Wed 5) with incredible skill producing two hugely entertaining comedies.

And didn’t local boy, Edward Bennett from North Littleton do well! His performances in major parts, as Berowne in the first and Benedick in the second play, were honed to perfection, as was Michelle Terry’s who played opposite him as Rosaline and Beatrice.

Rada trained Michelle was a former girlfriend of Edward’s when they were at University, and the naturalness of lovers, bickering one minute, then making up the next, must have stirred old memories.

It’s difficult to pick out one performer from such an outstanding cast, but Nick Haverson as Costard and Dogberry can’t go unmentioned. Haverson’s portrayals of both characters were real LOL humour, especially when he played Dogberry who came over as a cross between a demented Hilter and Del boy, with all his uncontrollable twitches. Shakespeare’s celebration of the English language is revealed hysterically when Costard struggles to understand the words: remunerations and emolument.

Many of the little touches in both plays directed by Christopher Luscombe, such as a taking teddy bear, were well appreciated. Last but not least was the wondrous set designed by Simon Higlett. Before a word was spoken the audience was treated to a re-creation of local Tudor manor-house, Charlecote Park towering on stage, but that’s not all.

The magical hydraulics allowed it to transform itself back and forth seamlessly throughout for both comedies with amazing effects, including smoking chimneys. All in all, you don’t have to be in any way a Shakespeare buff to love these plays, which are on from now until next March.