All's Well That Ends Well

JOHN LAWSON This was an All's Well that both started and ended well.David Lambert and Mark Hazell's excellent young cast never faltered in delivering some of Shakespeare's trickiest verse at the beginnings of both acts and then went on to tell his story with rich characterisation and emotion.

JOHN LAWSON

This was an All's Well that both started and ended well.

David Lambert and Mark Hazell's excellent young cast did not falter in delivering some of Shakespeare's trickiest verse at the beginnings of both acts and then went on to tell his story with rich characterisation and emotion.

Leading from the front was the sensational Naomi Miller as the tragically-wronged Helena, the daughter of a poor doctor who wins the hand of her ward's son, Bertram, by curing the ailing French king (played with regal presence by Lambert himself), only to be spurned because she is too lowly born.

But Bertram (a study in pompous distain by David Lloyd) gets his come-uppance when Helena tricks him into bed with the help of Florentine temptress Diana (Bernadette Necchi).

This is one of Shakespeare's darkest comedies and one of the bawdiest. Lecherous intent is embodied in the fool Lavatch (a gleeful Paul Comerford), and the foppish Parolles (Gareth Parry).

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There are some lovely cameos too, not least Monica Mason as a busybody hotel clerk.

But the fact that we can care so deeply about the fate of Helena and the sorrow of Bertram's mother (Mandy Kiley), who believes she has lost both a son and a daughter-in-law, is testament to excellent performances.

John Lawson

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