“A hardeth task it is to doth perform a play lest known by the bard himself” said Shakespeare about performing his plays… well he didn’t but he should have. Henry Lawson Theatre Company has not only taken on the hard task of performing a Shakespearean play but has also chosen a much lesser known and performed play. A dizzying delight of deceit and youthful repartee, Love’s Labours Lost is a must see for any Shakespeare aficionado or even those who may be new to the bard.
Mitch Rist and Nicole Madden’s collage of eclectic choices stylised the play into a unique and modern representation of this little known classic.
Adara Eyre as Byron was the shining star of the performance and is definitely a talent to be watched. Their stand out performance particularly shone during scene 4 when they delivered the dramatic irony demanded of the scene with pernach and conviction enabling the audience to delight in their perfect comic timing. It is exciting to see a local talent with such star power. Alison Woodgate as the Dean had perfect rhythm and control which complemented the performances of Aled Stephens as Longaville and Kye Eade as Dumaine. All three effectively bounce off each other in a way that had the audience laughing at their quirky, quick wit. Josh Stojanovic as Costard brought to life Shakespeare’s ‘clown’ style character known for their comic timing and overseer of the action.
Kaitlin Peek as The French Princess leads the cast of lucidious women who arrive to distract the weak men from their studies. Amber Mai Feeley as Rosaline plays the role as a commanding and in charge woman who is the puppeteer of the men’s affections which enables the princesses other companions to follow her lead. Layissa Mugridge and Lily Hampson beguile their respective partners with their wit and scheming. The teachers Nicole Smith and Stefanie Dellzeit attempt to control the crafty girls but they really come into their own when they find themselves inebriated, carefree and just enjoy watching the action play out.
At times the set became a distraction of the action with a large swing set taking up a portion of the stage space. Some of the costuming and music choices meant that it was hard to place the performance into a particular context. Despite this the performers shone on stage and engaged the audience consistently with their ability to perform with conviction and presence. It is always a delight to see actors take Shakespeare's language and not only deliver the lines but do so with control and comedy. This is a play I have not seen before and I greatly enjoyed this production. I give this performance 3.5 out of 5 misunderstood men.
Photos Courtesy of Aurel Vasilescu