'Love's Labour's Lost' (2010) - Movie Review

A stage production filmed at the new(ish) Globe Theatre in London.

In the 1980s I saw a version of Romeo and Juliet performed in High Park. The Nurse asks the time, and Mercutio, courteously taking her hand says "... for the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon." And as he says this, he puts her hand on his crotch. Shakespeare was frequently very bawdy, and modern audiences often forget that between the literary love he gets and the ancient version of our language that he uses - a language we don't fully understand. So I'm very much in favour of the plays being presented with rude visual accompaniment if it makes the old language easier to understand.

"Love's Labour's Lost" is among Shakespeare's worst plays. If we want to be polite about it, we could say "it's among the least accessible to a modern audience." It's full of period political jokes that aren't funny even if you know Shakespearean English because they also require a thorough knowledge of the politics of the time. And there's a lot of wordplay - wordplay more complex and harder to follow than Shakespeare's usual, and less successful because of it. In an attempt to make the play funny, this cast spends a great deal of energy on ludicrous physical comedy - not physical comedy to emphasize the language, just silliness chasing about the stage, plus fart and penis jokes. I'm not sure they're totally wrong about this, but I think their excessive gestures could have better been used to interpret some of the language. If Shakespeare isn't worth seeing without adding fart jokes and physical comedy ... why are you bothering to put on the play? (If you haven't gathered, I think this one's not worth staging anymore.)

A game cast drew a few laughs, but the production ran 2h46m and was a hell of a struggle to get through. I think that's the last time I watch LLL - I have better things to do with my life.