Theatre review: Love’s Labour’s Lost & Much Ado About Nothing – Manchester Opera House

The Royal Shakespeare Company have blessed Manchester once again, this time with two hilarious and witty plays, Love’s Labour’s Lost about Much Ado About Nothing. The bard’s tales of romance, humour and unbelievable levels of sass played out beautifully using the same sets and cast. The two complimented each other wonderfully and I’m glad I got to see both.

Granted I could barely keep up with what was going on and what people were talking about, but the delivery, timing and comedic flare definitely translated and the jokes really tickled. Shakespeare with his old-timey words; I’ve never heard the word “forsooth” as much in my life!

The same set with different tweaks integrated the stories delightfully. I initially pondered why they’d go to so much effort for two shows with these massive sets and have them on two days apart. But it all made sense when the second play started and it all clicked into place. It just worked, and I liked it a lot. I was very impressed.

My standout cast member was Lisa Dillon. She played Rosaline in Love’s Labour’s Lost and Beatrice in Much Ado. I felt myself waiting for her to come back on stage. She was snappy, and powerful, and she commanded the stage. I want to be her friend. Lisa, if you read this, tweet me @scottbalf.

Aside from me having no idea what was going on I had a wonderful time. I feel like if you’re into Shakespeare you’ll love it; if you’re not and you’re under 30, you probably will enjoy it but just not as much. The show wasn’t as Shakespeare reads, that’s for sure (and of course there’s an argument that you can’t really learn Shakespeare from the texts alone). There were songs and slapstick moments and raucous debauchery that I found thoroughly entertaining!

As both shows go hand in hand, I didn’t feel as though two reviews would be appropriate. It was one cast, one stage, one shared camaraderie… If you see one of these shows you must treat yourself and see the other.

And lord knows how they remembered all of those words! It was like me rapping ‘Bust A Move’ but for two hours. Great show, chaps! You did good!

Both shows are in Manchester for another week and tickets and availability are on the ATG website.

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