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  Love's Labor's Lost at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Love's Labor's Lost

Chicago Shakespeare Theater
800 East Grand Avenue Chicago

King Ferdinand of Navarre's "no fun" edict includes scholarly endeavors, quiet contemplation and complete commitment to chastity for three entire years. His closest courtiers reluctantly sign on. But this is a comedy and it doesn't take long for everyone to figure out that the whole thing is a bad idea and rules are meant to be broken-especially when the French Princess and her beautiful entourage arrive on the scene. The young men's studies soon give way to secret letters and amorous vows as the women set out to teach the men a thing or two about love. The puns fly and the playwright's wordplay take flight in this witty satire about young love with a surprising conclusion where real-life lessons are suddenly revealed. Former Artistic Director of Canada's Stratford Festival Marti Maraden returns to Chicago Shakespeare to stage this charming comedy, following her celebrated productions of Much Ado About Nothing and Othello.

Thru - Mar 26, 2017

Price: $48-$88

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 312-595-5600

Running Time: 2hrs, 30mins

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  Love's Labor's Lost Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...The verbal flourishes may go by some folks, but we all understand how poorly traditional love rhetoric serves the moments when the world has collapsed and we really need the one we love. There are hints of that from Greenberry, who plays the princess, and, in a couple of moving moments, from Tufts. But the facade of language and ambition never fully collapses so the insides are revealed - which means that the themes of the play (be yourself, for love's sake!) seem overly removed. You badly want all the facades to fall away but, although elegantly staged and acted, this production never fully explicates the heart of our existence."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...The actors (including Steven Pringle, James Newcomb and Drew Johnson), are uniformly skilled and polished and speak every word with clarity and conviction. They also are exquisitely dressed in Christine Poddubiukís magnificent costumes. But the takeaway is this: Even Shakespeare can use the services of an editor."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...There's a deep resonance in the moment when an old pedant, teased like the rude mechanicals in A Midsummer Night's Dream, tells his supposed betters, "This is not generous, not gentle, not humble." Maraden's cast works gracefully under the tree-limbed canopy of Kevin Depinet's equally graceful set, with Allen Gilmore making himself especially vivid as a fantastical Spaniard."
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Tony Adler

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Like the play itself, this production often feels like it is caught between the twin poles of high and low comedy. And though the Regency setting means that the production looks quite gorgeous (much credit goes to set designer Kevin Depinet and costume designer Christina Poddubiuk), the relative rigidity of the period extends to the action itself. The play often feels polite, too politeólike a painting in a museum thatís being kept safely behind glass. James Newcomb brings some welcome bawdiness as Katherineís trusty servant Boyett, and Goodrich is able to turn one word, remuneration, into the showís funniest recurring joke, but there are few other instances where Shakespeareís language bursts to life. Thereís nothing necessarily wrong with this production, but very little thatís particularly memorable about it either."
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Alex Huntsberger

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Chicago Shakespeare Theater's new production of the Bard's "Love's Labor's Lost" is a joyous voyage of discovery, a comedic delight that strips away the thicket of a problematic play and leaves us with the bare sober truth of human folly."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...The risk of doing Loveís Laborís Lost, even by the Bardís best at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, is seldom worth the reward, even when disguised as a quintessentially Parisian divertissement. Nonetheless, Navy Pierís very game ensemble, inspired by former Stratford Festival director Marti Maraden, labor hard to delight when they canít distract. Itís just hard to warm up to this cold 150-minute comedy, a word-crazed concoction thatís far more intent on impressing than entertaining."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...Love's Labor's Lost is a romantic romp ripe with reaping rides rendering redemption for the reckless. (Sorry). The acting and the wordplay, nicely articulated plus the funny scenes with Steven Pringle (Dull, a constable), Greg Vinkler, as Sir Natheniel and David Lively's Holofernes are a hoot! While LLL isn't the finest Shakespeare, the brilliant acting carries it home. It is worth seeing."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...Need something to pick up those winter blues? This battle of sexes is filled with quick wit, raunchy innuendos, and a plethora of alliteration. Loveís Labor's Lost, directed by Marti Maraden, delves deep into a true struggle between mind and heart. King Navarre declares a three year oath against love and worldly pleasures in pursuit of knowledge, but this plan is soon thrown off course with a visit by four beautiful ladies from the French Court. A song, a trick, a play, a marriage Ė all archetypes of the typical Shakespearean comedy."

Mary Crylen

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...Love's Labor's Lost contains all the things people love about Shakespeare's comedies: witty banter, attractive couples in gorgeous period costumes, a silly plot involving disguises and mishandled letters, and an unexpected turn toward the serious. But having probably been written in the mid-1590s, right when Shakespeare was coming into his maturity as an artist, this play also contains an excessive amount of the wordplay and instantly-dated references that people most dislike about Shakespeare's comic sensibility. Difficult though staging it is, director Marti Maraden has assembled a cast of eighteen persons who maximize the play's charms, making it enjoyable overall and a showcase of the ensemble's mastery of this comedic style."
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Jacob Davis

NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...Unfortunately, the picture never quite springs to life. The show remains inert and distant, feeling more like a series of wordy, lengthy set pieces than an energized and cohesive whole. By the final curtain, when the romantic buildup collapses into what may be Shakespeareís biggest anticlimax, the disappointment is tempered by a certain relief."
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Hugh Iglarsh

Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...Marti Maradenís lively direction keeps this pun-infused, language-saturated comedy moving briskly along. Set during the Age of Reason, this romance, one of Shakespeareís least-produced comedies, is fun for any aficionado of clever rhymes, pedantic comedy and sophisticated wordplay. Itís a play whose plot is a bit reminiscent of the Bardís ďA Midsummer Nightís Dream.Ē It features a group of young lovers roughing it in the forest, whereupon a makeshift troupe of commoners perform a play for their enlightenment. There are also jokesters and buffoons, disguises and deceptions, all played for laughs, that seem highly improbable, but play appropriately theatrical, much to the delight of the audience."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...So what we have here is a 4-star production of a 2Ĺ star play. But going with the thought that it's better to see a fine performance of a mediocre play than a mediocre performance of a fine play, "Love's Labor's Lost" is a winner. Shakespeare's script may be self indulgent in its excesses of word play, rhymes, malapropisms, and lavish poetry, but brother could that guy write."

Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Recommended

"...LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST is a fun guys verses gals evening. Although the Shakespearean prose makes it a wordy rom-com, Maraden keeps the show buoyant. She effectively loses the labor of love by keeping it merry. Instead of the emotional angst of searching for your soulmate, Maraden reinforces the ease of loving the one you're with. LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST gets back to the basics: boys meet girls = love."
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Katy Walsh

Third Coast Review - Highly Recommended

"...There are some unintentionally timely touches, including Sean Spicer-type verbal betrayals where "they have been at a great feast of languages and stolen the scraps," and there's also a duplicitous mess of mustachioed Muscovites. And the parting words echo our current national divide: "You that way: we this way.""
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Karin McKie

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   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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