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Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Rosemary Branch Theatre

Love's Labour's LostLove’s Labour’s Lost is one of William Shakespeare’s earlier comedies. It suffers from being loosely written in relation to historical figures of the time. This has resulted in it being one of the rarely performed works, as the humour can be lost (pun fully intended) on audiences of today.

The Cease and Desist Theatre Company combat this issue by bringing us their neon-lit 1980s version of this classic. Set in the acting profession’s world this reimagining brings us four men trying to prove their love to the recipients who just won’t make it easy for them.

It is difficult to pick out specific performances to mention as the whole cast did an absolutely fantastic job. Although Reed Stokes playing Moth means he isn’t on stage all that much. He really is an absolute delight and there is something about his performance that just entertains. This is added to by the onstage relationship with Don Armado played by Ross Mcnamara which just works really well. Ailsa Ilott plays Rosaline giving an eye-catching performance both for her superb acting and also because she is a stunningly beautiful lady.

I feel it would be remise of me to not mention again what a fantastic job this team did as a whole. They work so well together on stage all giving memorable performances delivering Shakespeare’s material with professionalism and talent abound.

The whole performance was directed wonderfully but one section I shall mention is the “Lady in Red” moment when Longaville, played by Ian Baksh, and Katherine, played by Diana Vucane, meet for the first time. Their eyes meet, the lighting changes to a red hue and Chris De Burgh’s Lady in Red is played. It was fantastically timed and was a treat to watch.

There is a second section I shall mention but it wasn’t quite as amusing for the rest of the audience. It was when Longaville handed the picture of Katherine to my companion to hold whilst he delivers his lyrical composition of love. It was an awkward moment trying to gain a minuscule amount of audience participation. I wasn’t sure she was actually going to take the frame from him, which I found hilarious, but to his credit he persisted and she reluctantly joined in.

The set is simple and straightforward. It is the dressing room for the performers and dressed as such. The lighting is also simplistic and does the job well. Sound travels well in this small theatre and I loved the 1980s music played throughout.

All in all an enjoyable evening and well worth watching if you have the chance.

4 stars

Review by Lee Cogger

LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST
And, when love speaks, the voice of all the gods makes heaven drowsy with the harmony
Cease and Desist Theatre Company are inviting you to gently hear and kindly judge our take on William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost – the Bard’s ultimate ode to love, attraction, and Cupid’s dreadful little might from which no man or woman is immune.

“An outstanding job of making Chekhov warm and relevant…” www.londontheatre1.com (Three Sisters 2014).
Amazing, talented cast and direction. I was actually left wanting more…” www.londontheatre1.com (Hedda Gabler 2014).

This year Cease and Desist are determined to fully explore their comedic potential, taking on one of the funniest, yet rarely performed Shakespeare comedies. Love’s Labour’s Lost is considered one of the Bard’s cleverest plays, although, because it is crammed with puns and cultural references that are assumed to go over the heads of today’s audiences, is avoided by producers and directors.

We intend to unearth all the entertaining richness of the play, and hopefully bring something new to the table by setting it in the neon-lit 1980s and by turning it into a commentary on the acting world, having discovered that the play provides an amazing opportunity to have a laugh at the trifles of the actor’s life.

Come and witness four men struggle with the curse of love, their unfruitful resistance to attraction, and their glorious triumph in being ultimately defeated.

Directed by Diana Vucane and Luke Jasztal.
Cease and Desist Theatre Company (formally FiasCo), produced two shows in 2014, Hedda Gabler (Etcetera Theatre, transferred to the King’s Head Theatre), and Three Sisters (The White Bear Theatre). Members of the company also performed in English Repertory Theatre’s production of Twelfth Night (Oxford Castle) and collaborated with other theatre companies as part of the “Theatre Uncut” project (Clean Break).

Cast & Crew:
Katherine/Director/Producer Diana Vucane
Birowne/Director Luke Jasztal
Ferdinand Nigel Fyfe
Princess Rachael Maclean
Rosaline Ailsa Ilott
Longaville Ian Baksh
Don Armado Ross Mcnamara
Moth Reed Stokes
Jaquenetta Maria Austin
Stage Manager Shannon Martin
Marketing & WeFund Creative Nigel Fyfe
Light Designer David Meunier-Palmer
Set Design Rachael Maclean
Set Creative Jules
Flyers and Poster Design Sam Lovatt

Venue: Rosemary Branch Theatre www.rosemarybranch.co.uk
Dates: 19 June – 3 July
Time: Tuesday – Saturday 7.30 pm, Sunday 6.00 pm
Tickets: Tickets £14, Concessions £10
Venue Box Office: 020 7704 6665

Saturday 20th June 2015

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