Love's Labour's Lost & Much Ado About Nothing
Opera House Manchester
23rd November - 3rd December 2016
|Click here to book tickets for Love's Labour's Lost||Click here to book tickets for Much Ado About Nothing|
The Royal Shakespeare Company productions in association with Chichester Festival Theatre
Love's Labour's Lost &
Much Ado About Nothing
(or Love’s Labour’s Won)
By William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s great romantic comedies, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing were first paired to great acclaim at Stratford-upon-Avon in 2014. This innovative doubling is now presented in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Chichester Festival Theatre.
Matching events, characters and themes suggest that these razor-sharp romances belong together. In Love’s Labour’s Lost two sparring lovers, Berowne and Rosaline, are separated; at the start of Much Ado About Nothing (or Love’s Labour’s Won), two sparring lovers meet again after a long absence and continue to quarrel, until they are tricked into acknowledging their love.
Directed by Christopher Luscombe, with a dazzling design by Simon Higlett and glorious music by Nigel Hess, the productions are set either side of the First World War. Love’s Labour’s Lost conjures up the carefree elegance of a pre-war Edwardian summer; in post-war Much Ado About Nothing the world has changed forever, the roaring 20s just around the corner. A 22-strong ensemble company performs in both productions with Edward Bennett returning to play Berowne and Benedick.
‘We lose ourselves to keep our oaths.’
Summer 1914. In order to dedicate themselves to a life of study, the King and his friends take an oath to avoid the company of women for three years. No sooner have they made their idealistic pledge than the Princess of France and her ladies-in-waiting arrive, presenting the men with a severe test of their high-minded resolve. Shakespeare’s sparkling comedy delights in championing and then unravelling an unrealistic vow, mischievously suggesting that the study of the opposite sex is in fact the highest of all academic endeavours. Only at the end of the play is the merriment curtailed as the lovers agree to submit to a period apart, unaware that the world around them is about to be utterly transformed by the war to end all wars.
‘Sigh no more, ladies - men were deceivers ever.’
Winter 1918. A group of soldiers return from the trenches. The world-weary Benedick and his friend Claudio find themselves reacquainted with Beatrice and Hero. As memories of conflict give way to a life of parties and masked balls, Claudio and Hero fall madly, deeply in love, while Benedick and Beatrice reignite their own altogether more combative courtship. Shakespeare’s comic romance plays out amidst the brittle high spirits of a post-war house party, as youthful passions run riot, lovers are deceived and happiness is threatened – before peace ultimately wins out. One of the most popular comedies in the English language, Much Ado About Nothing was possibly known in Shakespeare’s lifetime as Love’s Labour’s Won.
'Sparklingly funny and giddily blissful. This is, in its entirety, an endeavour that sings: poignant, impassioned and gorgeous'
'A match made in heaven'
'The whole ensemble create a theatrical tour de force, combining comedy, humanity and a wonderful feel good factor. Quite simply, the best plays you'll see anywhere'
'These productions are a joy'
'This imaginative pairing makes total sense. If love is thwarted in the first play, it is triumphantly fulfilled in the second'
Director - Christopher Luscombe
Designer - Simon Higlett
Lighting Designer - Oliver Fenwick
Music - Nigel Hess
Sound Designer - Jeremy Dunn
Choreographer - Jenny Arnold
Casting Directors - Gabrielle Dawes, Helena Palmer