Sunday, 16 December 2018

Review: Love's Labours Lost

EVERY two years Wargrave bursts into life with a two-week festival of art, drama, music, sporting activities and fun for all ages.

EVERY two years Wargrave bursts into life with a two-week festival of art, drama, music, sporting activities and fun for all ages. The outdoor Shakespeare has become a regular curtain opener for the event and this year Ann Roberts directed a dazzling production of Love’s Labour’s Lost.

Set in the early 20th century this was a bold interpretation played for laughs — and the audience loved it. Fabulous costumes are always a feature of Wargrave plays and this was no exception, with kings, princesses and their entourages dressed in elegant Edwardian costumes supplied by Maureen Feenemore and Julie Rowlands. There were also some great musical numbers, from a saucy Can-can to a few disco rhythms. This is not the easiest of Shakespeare’s plays. The plot —one of his least plausible — involves a king and his attendants swearing to abstain from contact with women for three years. They abandon this oath in the very next scene when confronted with the beautiful Princess of France and her elegant ladies-in-waiting.

There were many funny moments — the clever humour comes from the witty language and double entendres. There are even some jokes in Latin. If you stop concentrating, or the actors cannot easily be heard, much of the humour is missed.

However this cast, especially the Princess played with grace by Sinead Costello, and her team of Ellen Snell, Emma Jordan, Liz Paulo, Linda Damen and Sylvia Webber delivered the quickfire wit clearly. Wargrave newcomer Robin Bertrand played the lovestruck King of Navarre impressively, backed up by his besotted attendants Christopher Riley, Will Gillham and Edward Prové.

John Turner was excellent as Costard and Mike Watts made a pompous but funny Spaniard, ably abetted by his servant Moth, played by Rhianna Inman.

Jon Foster as the Curate and Martin Lorenz as Holofernes captured the comedy of their roles to perfection and were a joy to watch as the two old men of learning.

Edward Prové gave a lovely but ironic rendition of How To Handle A Woman (his character clearly couldn’t!). This was a play where women had the upper hand and even the saucy country maid Jaquenetta (Paula Payne) got her man in the end.

There were many wonderful moments in this play and the whole cast deserved their generous applause.

Love’s Labour’s Lost

Wargrave Festival

event

Clive Dow

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