Playhouse, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, Hamilton

15/11/2016 - 21/11/2016

Production Details

A King and his three best friends swear off women for three years. What will happen when a Princess and her three best friends come to visit? Can the men possibly resist the women? Will the women ever accept the vows of foolish men?

Shakespeare’s seldom performed romcom takes us to the Kingdom of Navarre where the quest to be in love, & speak from your true heart is marked by flirting, fooling, hunting & composing love poems. Along the way expect some ‘sudden breakings-out of mirth’ and the longest word in English ‘honorificabilitudinitatibus’. 

Carving in Ice Theatre invites you to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary in entrancing, romantic style with an evening of laughter, tears, gravity and joy.

Playhouse, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, University of Waikato, Knighton Road, Hillcrest
15, 16, 17, 18, 21 November at 7:00pm; 20 November at 2:30pm, 2016

Tickets: $15 full; $10 conc/students
or freecall 0800 383 5200

Cast: Anna Mahon, Calum Hughes, Mary Rinaldi, Tycho Smith, Megan Goldsman, Ben Redder, Bree Swales, Jack Knowles, Conor Maxwell, Kelly Petersen, Phil Dalziel, Liam Hinton, Andrew Lyall, Sara Young, David Lumsden, Bianca Rogers-Mott, Julianne Boyle, Tara Given, Kevin Beijerling, Katie Lee Riddle, Naketa Phillips
Creative/production team:
Director: Gaye Poole
Dramaturg: Mark Houlahan
Costumes: Cherie Cooke
Stage management: Jeremy Tomkins, Mpabanga KG Mpejane
Lighting: Alec Forbes, Jonathan Wilce
Choreographer: Fiona Murdoch
Accompanist: Jonathan Mayer
Graphic Design: Vincent Owen
Publicity/marketing: Gaye Poole, Vincent Owen, Brendan Theodore, Mark Houlahan, Calum Hughes, Liam Hinton, Andrew Lyall

Theatre ,

Excellent account of ridiculous pact regretted

Review by Cate Prestidge 17th Nov 2016

It’s great to see Carving in Ice tackling one of Shakespeare’s lesser known comedies for their end of year performance. There are some absolute gems of wordplay in this script, which director Gaye Poole has contextualised nicely for a modern audience, as well as a wealth of fun to be had with the characters.  

We start with an earnest young King and his noblemen making a worthy (if slightly hapless) pact to abstain from love for an extended period while they concentrate on their scholarly pursuits. They also declare all ladies shall be kept a mile from the city of Navarre for the duration. It’s bonkers, but what great timing for the audience, watching in the middle of exam time and no doubt reflecting on their own past worthy attempts at abstinence of various kinds.

Poole has assembled a good ensemble of both experienced and new actors, and the play offers some meaty roles for men and women. A feature of the play is the large number of female characters, led with assuredness by Mary Rinaldi as the Princess of France and Anna Mahon as her lady Rosaline. The en mass entrance of this confident, beautiful band of travellers is a great physical and aesthetic challenge to the newly sworn scholars who, predictably, start to waver.

In the male roles Tycho Smith is very steady as the young King, and the interaction and banter between him and his closest friends is believable, particularly with Berwone (an excellent Calum Hughes) whose initial scepticism and observant sarcasm leads to some fun exchanges.

Of particular note is the performance of Phil Dalziel as Don Armando. Dalziel’s energetic slapstick, well intentioned exuberance and exaggerated Spanish accent were all perfect in this role. The sub plot of his love for dairy maid Jaquenetta (Bianca Rogers-Mott), her dalliance with the gardener Costard (an excellent Liam Hinton) and various confusions and resolutions is entertaining.

The play works best when there is physicality and action in contrast to the more mannered scenes between the pairs of potential lovers and the second half really lifts in energy with the locals ‘masque’ and some beautiful singing.

Some mentions must go to Sara Young as the pedantic school teacher Holofernia, Kelly Petersen, who seems to sparkle as Moth the Page, and Andrew Lyall as Dull the policeman makes us laugh.

Conor Maxwell also creates some excellent moments with his droll delivery of some key lines and flouncing exits and entrances.

It’s not the first time some young men have made a ridiculous pact and lived to regret it, miscued a sentiment or caught out a friend, nor the first time there have been romantic misunderstandings, and the play explores these ideas well. In his notes, Dramaturg Mark Houlahan reveals that there have been “very few other productions of Love’s Labour’s Lost in NZ” – I’m very glad Carving in Ice have made it one more as it deserves to be better known. 


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