You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Love’s Labour’s Lost

Thin gruel for more refined theatrical palates.

With:
Ferdinand, King of Navarre - Philip Cumbus Berowne - Trystan Gravelle Longaville - William Mannering Dumaine - Jack Farthing Princess of France - Michelle Terry Rosaline - Thomasin Rand Maria - Jade Anouka Katherine - Sian Robins-Grace Lord Boyet - Tom Stuart Don Adriano De Armado - Paul Ready Moth - Seroca Davis Master Holofernes - Christopher Godwin Sir Nathaniel - Patrick Godfrey Constable Dull - Andrew Vincent Costard - Fergal McElherron Jaquenetta - Rhiannon Oliver

In composing comedies for the Lord Chamberlain’s Players to perform before an Elizabethan audience, Shakespeare took care to include plenty of ribald jokes and bawdy stage business to keep the uncouth groundlings at the Old Globe theater happy. In restaging “Love’s Labour’s Lost” for the rebuilt Shakespeare’s Globe in London — and for the national American tour opening in New York — a.d. Dominic Dromgoole panders exclusively to modern-day groundlings. As an exhibition of low comedy, the show is notable for the cunning design and exhilarating execution of double entendres and vulgar sight gags. But it’s thin gruel for more refined theatrical palates.

Queen Elizabeth I saw this “pleasant conceited comedie,” one of Shakespeare’s earliest works, in 1598, and the lusty monarch probably got a kick out of the rude shenanigans of naughty rubes and rustics like that preposterous ass Don Adriano de Armado (Paul Ready) and nasty-minded clown Costard (Fergal McElherron).

But one suspects she was more taken with the subtler comic charms of the saucy Princess of France (the adorably high-spirited Michelle Terry), who outfoxes her pretty-boy suitor, the King of Navarre (Philip Cumbus), at every turn. And surely her intellectual Highness thrilled to the sexy mind games played by that brainy couple, Rosaline (the enchanting Thomasin Rand) and Berowne (the nicely matched Trystan Gravelle).

Shakespeare conceived of his romantic comedy as a playful examination of the conundrum that faces all educated, well-born youth — the delicious struggle between love and duty. Although entirely schematic, these are lively games of wit played by the young Princess, her three ladies in waiting and their besotted suitors.

But Dromgoole has so drastically restructured the romantic comedy that the royal players are robbed of their wit and reduced to the roles of rustics. And while the youthful performers gamely kick up their heels in stylized dances and athletic movement drills, all that kidding around eventually makes them look foolish.

Meanwhile, the real rustics are allowed to take over the stage with broad comedy routines predictably heavy on stuffed codpieces. The groundlings, it seems, have taken over.

Love's Labour's Lost

Schimmel Center for the Arts, Pace U.; 743 seats; $75 top

Production: A Luck Concepts presentation of a Shakespeare's Globe production of a play in two acts by William Shakespeare. Directed by Dominic Dromgoole.

Creative: Sets and costumes, Jonathan Fensom; lighting, Paul Russell; original music, Claire van Kampen; choreography, Sian Williams; fight direction, Renny Krupinski; production stage managers, Paul Russell, Bartolo Cannizzaro. Opened Dec. 10, 2009. Reviewed Dec. 9. Running time: 2 HOURS, 55 MIN.

Cast: Ferdinand, King of Navarre - Philip Cumbus Berowne - Trystan Gravelle Longaville - William Mannering Dumaine - Jack Farthing Princess of France - Michelle Terry Rosaline - Thomasin Rand Maria - Jade Anouka Katherine - Sian Robins-Grace Lord Boyet - Tom Stuart Don Adriano De Armado - Paul Ready Moth - Seroca Davis Master Holofernes - Christopher Godwin Sir Nathaniel - Patrick Godfrey Constable Dull - Andrew Vincent Costard - Fergal McElherron Jaquenetta - Rhiannon Oliver

More Legit

  • Disney Theatrical's Thomas Schumacher Accused of

    Disney Theatrical's Thomas Schumacher Accused of Harassment

    In composing comedies for the Lord Chamberlain’s Players to perform before an Elizabethan audience, Shakespeare took care to include plenty of ribald jokes and bawdy stage business to keep the uncouth groundlings at the Old Globe theater happy. In restaging “Love’s Labour’s Lost” for the rebuilt Shakespeare’s Globe in London — and for the national […]

  • Wicked

    Broadway Box Office Gets a Little Love From Valentine's, Presidents' Day

    In composing comedies for the Lord Chamberlain’s Players to perform before an Elizabethan audience, Shakespeare took care to include plenty of ribald jokes and bawdy stage business to keep the uncouth groundlings at the Old Globe theater happy. In restaging “Love’s Labour’s Lost” for the rebuilt Shakespeare’s Globe in London — and for the national […]

  • Frozen Broadway

    Stagecraft Podcast: Behind the Scenes With Cast, Creators of 'Frozen'

    In composing comedies for the Lord Chamberlain’s Players to perform before an Elizabethan audience, Shakespeare took care to include plenty of ribald jokes and bawdy stage business to keep the uncouth groundlings at the Old Globe theater happy. In restaging “Love’s Labour’s Lost” for the rebuilt Shakespeare’s Globe in London — and for the national […]

  • Andrew Garfield Variety Facetime Interview

    Andrew Garfield on Avoiding 'Sickness' of Celebrity Culture

    In composing comedies for the Lord Chamberlain’s Players to perform before an Elizabethan audience, Shakespeare took care to include plenty of ribald jokes and bawdy stage business to keep the uncouth groundlings at the Old Globe theater happy. In restaging “Love’s Labour’s Lost” for the rebuilt Shakespeare’s Globe in London — and for the national […]

  • Geoffrey Rush

    Geoffrey Rush Accused of 'Inappropriate Touching,' Court Documents Show

    In composing comedies for the Lord Chamberlain’s Players to perform before an Elizabethan audience, Shakespeare took care to include plenty of ribald jokes and bawdy stage business to keep the uncouth groundlings at the Old Globe theater happy. In restaging “Love’s Labour’s Lost” for the rebuilt Shakespeare’s Globe in London — and for the national […]

  • Andrew Garfield Tony Kushner Angels in

    'Angels in America': Inside Broadway's Big Bet, Led by Andrew Garfield With Renewed Relevance

    In composing comedies for the Lord Chamberlain’s Players to perform before an Elizabethan audience, Shakespeare took care to include plenty of ribald jokes and bawdy stage business to keep the uncouth groundlings at the Old Globe theater happy. In restaging “Love’s Labour’s Lost” for the rebuilt Shakespeare’s Globe in London — and for the national […]

  • What's Next for 'Natasha, Pierre and

    What's Next for 'Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812'

    In composing comedies for the Lord Chamberlain’s Players to perform before an Elizabethan audience, Shakespeare took care to include plenty of ribald jokes and bawdy stage business to keep the uncouth groundlings at the Old Globe theater happy. In restaging “Love’s Labour’s Lost” for the rebuilt Shakespeare’s Globe in London — and for the national […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content