09 July 2006

Love's Labour's Lost

ny one who has read this who has been to Durham, or knows the university will appreciate the brilliance of the Wood Players' recent production of Love's Labour's Lost. One of Shakespeare's lesser known plays, Angie Audretsch (formally of the fabulous Twelfth Night, last summer) took Elizabethan England and set it in modern day Durham, and it worked perfectly. I am, of course, slightly biased, in that the Wood Players were founded by yours truly, and I initiated the Summer Shakespeare last year. However, this was inspired brilliance, and well worth the journey to the North East.

Durham is filled with stereotypes (I will get on to the review soon, I promise): rahs (those pashmina wearing Pimms lovers), gappers (beadey, hairy and often with interesting trousers), academic pedants and awkward foreign students. Almost everyone fits a "Durham type", and within this there is the usual college rivalry (in this case between "Navarre College" and "France College") thus life goes on in its usual style. Angie took these images of Durham and applied them to Love's Labour's, and this was the result.

The "King" of Navarre (played by Tom Mudd), and his trusty friends, Berowne, Dumaine and Longaville, fitted the rah image perfectly. When their "college" is invaded by the "Princess" of France (Alice Vink) and her ladies in waiting, they all fall in love with one of them. The only problem is that they have all sworn off women for the next three years. Much Shakespearian hilarity ensues, with mistaken identities, masked balls and other great comedic plot lines of the Bard. Sadly, no "bit with a dog", but you can't have everything...
The performances were spot on, notably Jon West as Duke Armando, and Alex Owen as Berowne. Alex, particularly caught my eye, as this performance was his third (possibly fourth) this year, after never setting foot on stage before Twelfth Night (as Sailor No 2...) He is a natural performer, and it is a great shame that he didn't realise this before this year!

The set and costumes were modern day, and fitted the script and story perfectly. The costumes were simple, by dressing the characters in clothes you see on the streets of Durham: pashminas, short skirts, collars up and huge sunglasses, followed naturally by "formal dress" of black tie.

The play was fantastic, and thoroughly enjoyable. It is a very funny play, and easily understood even by Shakespeare virgins. Anyone who has been to university will recognise the agonies of waking up with a hangover and swearing off food and booze forever, only to find yourself out the next night, bladdered again and eating cheesy chips...Add in a few unrecommended love connections and you have Love's Labour's, Durham Style.....

1 comment:

bananatree said...

hey, to answer your qu, i think the only thing you can do it go into your previous post & edit it... ie retype the review in that post.
But that's awfully time consuming, as cut and paste doesn't seem to work here for some annoying reason!
Have just finished the typing school for men book- i really like them! -thanks. Will post it back to you soon.
hope you're doing ok.
much love, x