AN A+ FOR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER
Christopher Gaze has once again triumphed not
only as Artistic Director but as actor par excellence in this 8th annual
presentation of Shakespeare's romantic comedy Love's Labour's
This Shakesperean classic is a merry play about the irresistible magic of love. It is a tale of the King of Navarre (Mike Stack) and his lords, Berowne (David Marr) who reminded me succinctly of the great Laurence Olivier, Longaville (Anthony Santiago), and Dumaine (Allan Zinyk) who pledge to forsake the company of women for three years in order to devote themselves to the pursuit of knowledge.
However, when the Princess of France (Tiffany Lyndall-Knight) and her three beautiful ladies, Rosaline (Tracey Erin Smith), Maria (Jennifer Lines) and Katharine (Denyse Wilson) arrive, they tempt the men from their scholastic path and search for knowledge.
Meanwhile, Don Adriano de Armado (Peter Anderson), the Quixotic Spaniard, and Holofernes (Christopher Gaze), a schoolmaster, brush through with comic relief reliving the wit and playful linguistic games of the Bard.
Peter Anderson was an excellent stereotype of the typical Quixotic Spaniard, lost in his "impossible dream" as he courts and wins his lady love, Jaquenetta (Jane Spence), a country wench. Shakespeare must surely have patterned this from Don Quixote and Dulcinea. On the other extreme from Anderson's cartoon portrayal of Don Adriano, Christopher Gaze, was, as always, the Shakesperean actor everyone dreams of becoming. His portrayal of the glib and bumbling schoolmaster was comically divine.
The 18th century setting of Navarre in the late 1700s imagined by Director Miles Potter was well chosen. In his direcotor's notes, he adds: "I like to imagine that our Navarre is going through a period of Chinoiserie when European courts were swept up with a passion for things Oriental." The costumes designed by Mara Gottler reflected this imagery: shining satin in oriental designs. The use of the Chinese gong also reflected this chinoiserie.
Shakespeare has been experimented in many ways and in many periods, as in Tyrone Guthrie's cowboy presentation of Midsummer Night's Dream, or Burton's portrayal of a contemporary Hamlet in black in the sixties. The French neoclassic mood that Potter injects in this play worked quite well thematically.
The actors kept the audience laughing, particularly with their comic antiques, more than with their lines, I thought. The Muscovite scene drew a lot of laughs, and the choreography at the end of the play, with the French 18th century cotillon by Trudy Forest combined with George Ryan's musical direction/composition ended this Shakesperean classic very nicely.
Congratulations to the cast and crew for another entertaining and delightful Shakesperean production!
Haig Sutherland as Moth and Peter Anderson as Don Armado in Love's
Photo: Glen Erikson
Review: Ed Farolan