RSC Live: Love's Labour's Won / Much Ado About Nothing ★★★★

Love’s Labour’s Won / Much Ado about Nothing
RSC Live from Stratford Upon Avon
5th March 2015

Cast:
Edward Bennett - Benedick
Michelle Terry - Beatrice
Tunji Kasim - Claudio
Flora Spencer-Longhurst - Hero
Sam Alexander - Don John
William Bellchambers - Conrade

This RSC’s Production of Much Ado About Nothing has been crafted under a new name of Love’s Labours Won, mainly due to the similarity it faces with Love’s Labour’s Lost, where both are currently playing at Stratford. This version of the play is set in 1918, just after the First World World, and I think that this was a genius idea, which linked and fitted perfectly with the first outing, Lost, as that ended with the soldiers going off to war. Director Christopher Luscombe also spoke how the era of this production also suited nicely for the villain in play, Don John, as he has suffered so much from the horrific war that he seems to have just returned from.

Just like Lost, Love’s Labour’s Won is a beautiful play which even though has less comedic styles running throughout, there are some real great highlights in this version, especially when Benedick is hiding in the curtains and christmas tree. Its nice to see these sorts of comedy scenes, because apart from this, the majority of the production has a sense of a very dark and gloomy atmosphere throughout. I think this was a perfect balance from its predecessor, and I believe this piece has much more focus on it’s characters and relationships, mainly from Benedick and Beatrice, and Claudio and Hero.

Both these relationships are beautifully crafted and really draws you into the whole action. With Benedick and Beatrice, it is known that they knew each other before the war, which once again shows that it really fits in with Lost, as the cast has stayed the same. We know throughout the whole play that these two characters have an undying love for each other, but are too afraid to tell each other. With Claudio and Hero, it becomes a little more complicated. With them falling in love and engaged, the night before their wedding, Don John devises a evil plan to tell a lie and say that another man, Borachio, was in her bedchamber, when in actual fact it was Margaret.

Another thing that I loved was, just like Lost, the way that the whole set was mechanical, with only a few props actually being moved by the actors themselves, because it just all fits together in making the production as smooth and noise-free as possible. The music and songs in the piece also is something that should be mentioned, because throughout all this chaos you see on stage, you suddenly get these stunning vocals and instrumental music really bring a scene or dramatic moment to life.

Overall, Love’s Labours Won really draws you in from the very start, and takes you on beautiful journey full of love, jealousy, and death, whilst also balancing perfect with laughter and sounds, which will really make you leave with a smile on your face, and a satisfying ending to a wonderful production.

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