My final trip to Shakespeare's Globe for this year, and I've just realised this was the last remaining Shakespeare comedy I hadn't seen on stage. I've now only got 7 plays from the canon that I've not seen. Most of them are pretty unsurprising (I'm including the ultra-obscure Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen) but funnily enough I'm also yet to see Antony and Cleopatra, which I actually studied for A'Level English. (The remaining plays are the three Henry VIs and Titus Andronicus.)
But back to Love's Labour's Lost and this is a revival of Dominic Dromgoole's production from two years ago, closing the Globe's season before touring the States. It's a bit uneven, with some of the subplots not really working that well, but when it's funny it's very, very funny. Especially the central four couples led by Philip Cumbus (the cute beardy I saw play Edward II last year) as the King and Michelle Terry (who must have barely caught her breath since All's Well That Ends Well at the National) as the French Princess. The quartet of loved-up noblemen are especially funny as they try to hide their dalliances from each other (this is the play which starts with the four of them swearing an oath to avoid women for three years; they each instantly break it, unaware that the others have too.) It's also the play that has a very odd ending, the closest thing there is in Shakespeare comedies to a cliffhanger (the story of the lost companion play Love's Labour's Won was not made up for Doctor Who, it's been a popular theory for decades) but standing alone it makes for an interesting reversal of all that's gone before. It takes a little while to warm up but once it does this is an excellent production.
Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare is booking until the 10th of October at Shakespeare's Globe; then touring the USA until the 23rd of December.