Love’s Labours Lost

Wednesday 1st to Saturday 11th December 2004

Friargate Theatre

Charles Hutchinson in the The Yorkshire Evening Press wrote:

FIVE down, 32 to go, York Shakespeare Project’s 20-year plan to bash out all the Bard’s plays continues to be too much of a private pleasure.

Last night’s house was worryingly small, which must be demoralising for this labour of love. Maybe the decision to stage Romeo And Juliet in Rowntree Park next July will bring new impetus.

Love’s Labour’s Lost, the first comedy to give naturalism the red card, established the template for student behaviour. King Ferdinand of Navarre (Paul Toy) and his dandy young courtiers Berowne (Dermot Hill), Dumaine (John Hasselgreen) and Longaville (David Orme) vow to focus solely on study and self-denial, but we all know how it really works. Wave goodbye to your parents, and it’s all girls and partying.

Or here, recast in Edwardian elegance by director Chris Rawson, the student life means picnic baskets, cricket bats, tennis balls and highest society ladies: the Princess of France (haughty yet naughty Beverley Chapman), Rosaline (Mandy Newby), Maria (Fiona Mozeley) and Katherine (Sukie Chapman).

Like driving on a motorway on Fridays, this is a fraught drama, with several trunk roads feeding the traffic-jammed main artery. There is Costard the errant Clown (the outstanding Frank Brogan), then add slothful constable Dull (Lee Maloney), vainglorious Spanish grandee Don Armado (a booming Robin Sanger), the fluttering Moth (Gillian Bayes) and the drunken rustic wench, Jaquanetta (Ali Borthwick). Enter the waffling, scholastic Holofernes (Sam Valentine) and Sir Nathaniel, the curate (Kit Bird), and Shakespeare leads us down the country path of masks and misdirected missives.

In Shakespeare’s monsoon of words, men don’t say what they mean and women cut to the quick (nothing new there then!). “I don’t understand you,” the ladies keep saying, and you know the feeling.

There is a barrage of what Boris Johnson would call “inverted piffle”, plenty of energy too, but the players in this frippery laugh more often than the audience.

See also: The British Theatre Guide review by Peter Lathan.


King of Navarre Paul Toy
Berowne Dermott Hill
Longaville David Orme
Dumaine John Hasselgreen
Anthony Dull Lee Maloney
Costard Frank Brogan
Don Adriano De Armando Robin Sanger
Moth Gillian Bayes
Jaquanetta Ali Borthwick
Boyet Richard Easterbrook
The Princess of France Beverley Chapman
Rosaline Mandy Newby
Maria Fiona Mozeley
Katherine Sukie Chapman
Lady-in-Waiting Julia Atkinson
Forester Alan Lyons
Nathaniel Kit Bird
Holofernes Sam Valentine
Marcade Alan Lyons
Rustics Alex Briggs
Jane Collis

Production Team

Director Chris Rawson
Stage Manager Ali Borthwick
Production Manager Lee Maloney
Musical Director Paul Toy
Design Chris Rawson, Ali Borthwick, Lee Maloney, Julia Atkinson
Costume Jane Collis, Ali Borthwick, Bev Chapman
Props Julia Atkinson, Lee Maloney
Lighting and Sound Jason Drake
Publicity Ali Borthwick, Chris Rawson, Jamie Searle
Production & Set Lee Maloney, Kit Bird, Bev Chapman, Julia Atkinson, Jane Collis, Alex Briggs, Harold Mozeley, Claire Simpson, Matt Simpson, John Sharpe, David Hartshorne, Jamie Searle
Front of House Ray Baggaley, Anne Walker, John Sharpe, Eileen Dale, Barbara Miller, Matt Simpson, Richard Stell
Audio and SignedPerformance Support Ray Baggeley. Richard Stell, Jamie Searle
Freelance Signer Steve Conlon