Sparklingly funny and giddily blissful. This is, in its entirety, an endeavour that sings: poignant, impassioned and gorgeousTimes
This imaginative pairing makes total sense. If love is thwarted in the first play, it is triumphantly fulfilled in the secondGuardian
‘Sigh no more, ladies - men were deceivers ever.’
Winter 1918. A group of soldiers return from the trenches. The world-weary Benedick and his friend Claudio find themselves reacquainted with Beatrice and Hero. As memories of conflict give way to a life of parties and masked balls, Claudio and Hero fall madly, deeply in love, while Benedick and Beatrice reignite their own altogether more combative courtship.
Shakespeare’s comic romance plays out amidst the brittle high spirits of a post-war house party, as youthful passions run riot, lovers are deceived and happiness is threatened – before peace ultimately wins out.
One of the most popular comedies in the English language, Much Ado About Nothing was possibly known in Shakespeare’s lifetime as Love’s Labour’s Won.
Shakespeare’s great romantic comedies, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing were first paired to great acclaim at Stratford-upon-Avon in 2014. This innovative doubling is now presented at Chichester in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Matching events, characters and themes suggest that these razor-sharp romances belong together. In Love’s Labour’s Lost two sparring lovers, Berowne and Rosaline, are separated; at the start of Much Ado About Nothing (or Love’s Labour’s Won), two sparring lovers meet again after a long absence and continue to quarrel, until they are tricked into acknowledging their love.
Directed by Christopher Luscombe, with a dazzling design by Simon Higlett and glorious music by Nigel Hess, the productions are set either side of the First World War. Love’s Labour’s Lost conjures up the carefree elegance of a pre-war Edwardian summer; in post-war Much Ado About Nothing the world has changed forever, the roaring 20s just around the corner. A 22-strong ensemble company performs in both productions. Following his appearance at Chichester last year in The Rehearsal, Edward Bennett returns to play Berowne and Benedick; Lisa Dillon plays Rosaline and Beatrice.