Love's Labour's Lost ★★★★ Open Bar Theatre | Jul 12 - Aug 18, 2021


Love's Labour's Lost gives us the longest word, the longest speech and the longest scene in Shakespeare. In Nicky Diss' charmingly hyperactive production for Open Bar Theatre it also gives us plenty of laughs thanks to her terrific cast of four: Stuart Turner, Grace Kelly Miller, Charlotte Worthing and Adam Courting. They don't get an easy ride as this play is difficult to pull off, crammed as it is, with difficult language and wordplay. The satirical allusions are now incredibly obscure and, in general, the play is too clever for its own good. Mercifully, the cast don't take it too seriously and try, successfully, to create the ambiance of an Elizabethan tavern as they nod and wink at the audience. This all works but at a cost. Since everyone is rushing from one guise to another there is hardly time for any particular character to work his or her way into our hearts. Turner's well-spoken King of Navarre comes nearest, but then within seconds he is back again as a delightfully camp Boyet. Courting, as Berowne, copes manfully with 'that' speech. The women are properly 'girlish' as the ladies of the French Court before popping up as Costard and Don Armado. Maybe this rom-com with a downbeat ending would benefit from a more languid approach, but here we are sent home grinning broadly. Open Bar Theatre do their best to rise above the material and they thoroughly deserved the huge cheers they received; the efforts of their labours were definitely not lost.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by lhphotoshots.

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When, Where, Getting there:
Jul 12 - Aug 18, 2021
Open Bar Theatre
Multiple show times and venues available. See website below.

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