Unfolds Theatre’s production of Love’s Labour’s Lost comes as welcome refreshment in a time where other Shakespearean productions seem confused and stifled. This 1940s Hollywood glamour infused production attempts to do nothing more than create genuinely funny comic moments and bring some of the Bard’s earliest verse to the forefront of proceedings. It succeeds in doing both.
“equally engaging and honest”
This company’s young cast turn out performances directed by Marnie Nash that are equally engaging and honest, all whilst delivering some of Shakespeare’s most complex language in a way that isn’t jarring. Two star turns come from Angus Castle-Doughty as Longaville, the somewhat bashful lord and Moth, a role earning him his comic chops. Alongside his physical clowning, Castle-Doughty also proves his worth vocally, providing a multitude of different accents as his three characters and hitting every single one of his punchlines with aplomb. Nicholas Delvalle also has the knack of flip flopping between characters, one moment giving us his Del Boy-esque Costard, the raunchy fool of the play and then playing very much the straight man as Boyet, the princess’ chaperone. The two provide the majority of big laughs in the play and are certainly the highlights in this very capable cast.
As an archeological site, The Rose Playhouse might seem a strange place to stage a 1940s themed production (complete with the perfect Benny Goodman soundtrack) yet this small stage with the back drop of the excavation site works perfectly for this kind of farce, not for one moment feeling out of place. The lack of set was made of up for by some great and simple costume design that adequately held up the setting.
Whilst there are a few moments where the story seems to drag, largely down to the way the text has been cut to fill the 80 minute run time, this production felt warm in what many consider a chilly venue. If this is anything to go by, I look forward to Unfolds Theatre next venture.
Image: Natalie Martins (Copyright of Unfolds Theatre)