Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare

Saturday, 7th July 2012 at TBD

Location: Various

This event is in the past.

SSC- Loves Labours Lost at various venues across Essex throughout July

PACK a big brolly, pack an inflatable lifeboat for peace of mind, but don't miss Love's Labour's Lost. Whatever the weather, Southend Shakespeare Company's 2012 summer outdoor production is a sizzler.

LoLabLo, with its dense language and stream of classical references, is never the easiest of plays to stage, particularly as a strawberries 'n champagne summer entertainment. Packed with jokes alluding to long-forgotten targets, it is living proof that the old gags are not necessarily the best ones.

Yet Vanessa Osborn, proving herself as gifted a director of comedy as of tragedy (Hamlet, earlier in 2011) has unlocked the glorious romp that lies tucked inside the play. The result is richly funny, a great work of mirth by any standards. But it is also, especially in the final, dying moments, quite beautiful and moving. Fully grasping all aspects of the play, the lovely cast deliver the Shakespearian language with verve and, where the occasion demands, real passion.

At the heart of Love's Labour's Lost lies that most enduring of romcom themes - the power of romantic love to set the agenda, disrupt the best-laid career plans, and kick every other aspect of life into the sidelines.

The hilarious opening shows a group of Bullingdon Club style posh boys in dishevelled evening dress chuntering and piddling after yet another debauched night out. But then, the King of Navarre and his cronies, Dumaine, Longaville and Berowne, make a vow to start taking their duties seriously.

They will devote themselves to their studies for a year, and abandon worldly temptations. In particular, anything remotely resembling a young and nubile woman will not be allowed within one mile of the prince's castle.

No sooner is the vow made than a group of sassy oo-la-la French fancies in 1960s style minidresses, saunter their way onto the scene. Led by the Princess of France, they have arrived on a courtly visit.

The vow means that they ladies have to camp out in the hunting park – cue for a wickedly funny tent raising scene. The fellows cannot resist a visit, and are soon madly in love.

What follows is a delectable series of love games, involving disguise, all manner of wooing and feigned resistance, and desperate attempts to reconcile amorous passion with the vow of austerity made by the Prince and his buddies.

Kane Thomas and Amy Wilson are charming and delightful as the young romantic leads. Much of the play's momentum pivots on the character of the Lord Berowne, whose scepticism, eloquence, and ever enquiring mind reflect, you suspect, the young Will Shakespeare himself. As Berowne, George Kemp once again shows the star qualities that made him such an effective Hamlet.

The runaway performances of the night, however, come from the comical support roles, particularly Andrew Sugden, quite brilliant as the smug but geeky schoolmaster Holofernes, his vast self-satisfaction bolstered by a bevy of adoring nuns. Dave Lobley made the audience choke with laughter on their sausage rolls as the buffoon Costard.

Do anything to catch this outdoor production as it wends its way around Essex gardens and parks. It is a whole summer's holiday of pleasure packed into the course of one evening.

Tom King

Character   Played By
King of Navarre   Kane Thomas
Longaville   Iain Phillips
Dumaine   Tyler Conti
Berowne   George Kemp
Dull   John Newell
Costard   Dave Lobley
Don Armado   James Carter
Moth   Maz Clements
Jaquenetta   Madeleine Ayres
Boyet   Julie Carter
Princess Of France   Amy Wilson
Maria   Alice Ryan
Katherine   Ali Graves
Rosaline   Katie Neil
Forester   John Newell
Holofernes   Andrew Sugden
Admirer of Holofernes   Cathy Memery
Sister Nathaniel   Tracey-Anne Bourne
Assistant Director   George Kemp
Director   Vanessa Osborn
Website Liaison   Steve Pilley
Stage Manager   Tracey-Anne Bourne
Assistant Director   Sandra Smith
Assistant Director   Ross Norman-Clarke
From Until Curtain up Venue
  7 Jul 2012 7:30:00 PM High Easter Village Hall Field
  8 Jul 2012 3:00:00 PM Southchurch Hall Park
11 Jul 2012 13 Jul 2012 7:45:00 PM Leigh Library Gardens
14 Jul 2012 15 Jul 2012 3:00:00 PM Rayleigh Mount
  21 Jul 2012 7:30:00 PM Willow Cottage
21 Jul 2012 22 Jul 2012 3:00:00 PM Willow Cottage

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