Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

Love's Labours Lost

Date 15 June - 24 September 2005 Venue Under the Tents in Vanier Park Reviewer Jane Penistan


 

Director Michael Shamata Composer/Sound design Stephen Bulat Choreographer Valerie Easton Fight director Nicholas Harrison Stage and scenery design Kevin McAllister Costume design Mara Gottler Lighting design Gerald King Production stage manager Stephen Courtenay

 


Anthony Holland as Adam; photo David Blue

This charming and witty romantic comedy graced the newly designed stage for the Bard's second opening of the 2005 season. The elegant Regency costumes were well set off by the bow-fronted stage with its multi-levelled upstage area. This was enhanced by the stylized trees and the well chosen subtle lighting. Stephen Bulat's original music and setting for the songs was delightful, well and tunefully performed, particularly, the closing songs of winter and spring.

This production has several excellent performances. Gerry Mackay, brought panache and flamboyance to the fantastic Don Adriano de Armado, and was well served by his page Moth (Jeremiah Kennedy) David Mackay enjoyed the witty, teasing role of Berowne, while Jennifer Lines gave a very well developed performance as Roseline. She was quite the most successful of the ladies and relished her repartee with the gentlemen.

The King of Navarre, his attendant lords Longaville and Dumaine, and the Princess of France and her ladies, Maria and Katherine could have been more animated and displayed more enjoyment of the humour of the dialogue and the companionship of young people.

Of the court characters, Christopher Gaze was the perfect Regency diplomat, Boyet. Urbane, intelligent, amusing, and in control at all times, with never a gesture or glance not perfectly timed or unnecessary, and speech that was audible and modulated, he delivered a most polished performance.

 

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As always, Allan Zinyk's humour and timing were impeccable in the comic role of the apparently not too bright, but definitely sharp and cunning Costard. Christopher Weddell and Greg Armstrong-Morris were the two well contrasted clerics, and no one could forget the incredible Constable Anthony Dull of Scott Bellis.

Boyet and the ladies; photo, David Blue

With such clever, witty and clear dialogue, why did the director deem it necessary to change some of the original wording? Shakespeare knew what he was saying. Some of these changes were unnecessary, as the odd obscurity is explained in the text. The words of the well-known winter song were not meaningless to modern ears, but the words substituted did not make sense to anyone brought up in a rural area. These may be quibbles, but it is a pity to mar a good production with small andunnecessary embellishments.

This is a good production and a very enjoyable comedy. It runs until 24 September, so there is plenty of time not to miss it.

2005 Jane Penistan

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