Love's Labour's Lost

It's nice to see something where strong female characters rule the roost. Where the audience can identify and understand what these characters are trying to achieve, for the good of everyone. What not settling for less really looks like, and this is very clear to see in the latest offering from The RSC in Stratford.

Love's Labour's Lost is one of Shakespeare's early comedies The Princess is sent by her dying Father on a diplomatic mission to recover the land of Aquitane from Ferdinand of Naverre. Along with her ladies Rosaline, Katherine and Maria, the trip has a lot more in store for them than they had planned. Also on the island are Berowne, Longville and Dumaine who have sworn to an oath of self-improvement which means they must refuse the women hospitality whilst the future of Aquitane is negotiated. However, this is easier said than done, as the troop of men fall desperately in love with the group of ladies. 

A mix up with forbidden love letters leads the men to team up to win over their chosen ladies, but the women see straight through their efforts and trick them in to declaring their love for the wrong person. The men are left with the dilemma of proving they have respect for their loves, but the ladies are not going to make it easy for them.

This production certainly has strong female casting. With Melanie-Joyce Bermudez as Princess, Sarita Gabony as Maria, Amy Griffiths as Katherine and Ioanna Kimbrook as Rosalind creating the perfectly likable group of ladies. Equally strong and supportive of each other, they are a pleasure to watch.

Luke Thompson as Berowne has some beautifully crafted moments portraying not only the laddish side of his character, but also his honest vulnerability.

Jordan Metcalfe as Boyet, the Princess' advisor, comes across with just enough stature and playful spirit to be adored by the audience and Iskandar Eaton as Moth, is the adorable sidekick to Don Armado.

The pure comedy of the piece is stolen by Nathan Foad as Costard. His expressions and movement complementing the classically written words for a modern audience sublimely. Alongside Jack Bardoe's portrayal of Don Armado, this is a very funny production.

Overall, this is a highly talented cast, with complementary set and costume design by Joanna Scotcher, in particular the outfits for the staff show are well devised and ingeniously put together.

The miscommunication and word play is wonderfully directed by Emily Burns who defines the strength of honesty and respect throughout the dialogue.

A passionate male vulnerability mixed with a powerful feminine ideal.

This show was reviewed on the 18th April 2024 at The RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon where it runs until the 18th May 2024.  Tickets available here: Love's Labour's Lost | Royal Shakespeare Company (

Review written by Rachel Martin


Photo credit: Johan Persson

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