“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” – Samuel Johnson
Shakespeare’s romantic comedies Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing, first paired as a double bill at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 2014 to critical acclaim, are to make a brief comeback in the West End.
With Much Ado masquerading as Love’s Labour’s Won – a title that might refer to a lost work or is possibly an alternate name for the play – an ensemble cast performs both involving productions, which conjure an air of Downton Abbey glamour.
Love’s Labour’s Lost brings to life the carefree elegance of a pre-war Edwardian summer, while in Much Ado About Nothing, set after the First World War, life has changed forever. It’s a combination that sheds new light on these ever-popular plays.
Let Them Entertain You
The tagline for the British Library’s Victorian Entertainments exhibition, There Will Be Fun, sounds like a promise. Based on the library’s Evanion collection, the archive of 19th-century conjuror Henry Evans, known as Evanion, the exhibition features a vivid array of richly decorative posters, handbills, advertisements and tickets. Such ephemeral material, relatively new at the time, wasn’t considered to be of lasting value back then, making the collection something special. Victorian Entertainment focuses on five entertainers including Evanion himself, whose performance for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert led to the self-appointed title of Royal Conjuror. A programme of live events will accompany the exhibition, including a special Late at the Library recapturing the heyday of Victorian entertainment.