“Love’s Labour Lost” Produced by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Get here early and walk into a theatre that’s been transformed into a classy salon of the 1920s. Men in formal dress are cavorting, fixing drinks at a well-equipped drink cart, and prancing like fey Oxbridge students or upper class gentlemen in the confines of their private clubs. The sumptuous stage set, designed by Andrea Bryn Bush, is one of the stars of the production, and this pre-show entertainment is a delight.

When the play begins you learn that these frolicking gentlemen include the King of Navarre and three of his noblemen. They agree to eschew the company of women for three years and devote themselves to study. Ha! You can just guess how successful that will be, especially as the lovely Princess of France is due to visit with her attractive ladies in waiting. When the ladies arrive in Deane Middleton’s elegant costumes, you know the men are lost.

“Love’s Labour Lost”, one of Shakespeare’s early comedies, is not among his most popular with modern audiences. Wordplay is one of its key attractions, but some of that is unfamiliar today, and, in this production, much of the dialog is lost because a number of the performers are difficult to understand.

One actor whose every word is clear is David Quicksall as the fatuous Spanish swordsman who has his own romantic desires. Even with his thick Spanish accent, Quicksall’s every word is precise, and most of them are funny. In demeanor, comportment, and posture, Quicksall steals the stage. Another scene stealer is Micky Rowe as the small but agile Moth.

Paul Stuart excels as Berowne, one of the king’s three noblemen. This is his first Seattle performance, and I, for one, hope he sticks around. Shakespeare’s language rolls off his tongue with grace and great clarity.

This is a very funny production. There’s a wonderful bit between effete secular and religious scholars, exposing their snobbery and ridiculing it. This is just one of the delightfully silly antics in the second act.

Director Jon Kretzu’s production has much going for it. It would have been better had I understood every word.

Through April 7 at Center House Theatre, Seattle Center, (206 733-8228 or www.seattleshakespeare.org)

3,472 Responses to ““Love’s Labour Lost” Produced by Seattle Shakespeare Company”