High-life power play in the city

Love's Labours Lost, English Touring Theatre @ Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds. By Frank Cliff.

Love's Labours Lost, English Touring Theatre @ Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

By Frank Cliff

Stephen Unwin's modern dress production of Love's Labour's Lost is set in the City.

Designer Neil Warmington's court of Navarre is a high-rise office block, all stainless steel and marble. The characters enter and depart by the lifts. The king and his three lords, who have pledged themselves to a three-year term of study, eschewing the company of women, are high-fliers in some media occupation or other.

The visiting princess of France and her three ladies, with whom these lords fall instantly in love are, equally, feisty and high powered professionals.

This works brilliantly with these central characters at any rate. Shakespeare's preoccupation in this play with the complex manipulation of language transfers itself readily into a stylish kind of media-speak with such universally splendid and well contrasted performances from all these would be lovers but it seems almost unfair to single out Nick Fletcher's outstanding Berowne.

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Don Adriano's ramblings were not helped by John Quentin's somewhat mystifying accent, although Holofernes mastery of the lapidary was brilliantly delivered by the excellent Michael Croning.

The play continues until March 3.

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