The Royal Shakespeare Company begins its ten-day run in Manchester tonight with their highly acclaimed pairing of Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing.
Following a month-long run at the Chichester Festival Theatre and before a West-End Christmas season in London, the company will perform the works at the Manchester Opera House between 23 November and 3 December.
The double-bill was previously performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-Upon-Avon and director Christopher Luscombe returns for this second run.
Most of the 22-strong cast are also returning, including Edward Bennett as Berowne and Benedict, and Lisa Dillon as Rosaline and Beatrice.
Bennett made his name in 2008 when he took over from David Tennant in Gregory Doran’s famous RSC production of Hamlet at the Novello Theatre.
He recently starred in the National Theatre tour of One Man, Two Guvnors and opposite Nicole Kidman in Photograph 51 in the West End
Meanwhile, Dillon returns to RSC after parts in their recent productions of The Roaring Girl and Taming of the Shrew.
Luscombe’s productions will transport Shakespeare’s plays to the early twentieth century, with the two plays set on either side of World War One: Love’s Labour’s Lost in Summer 1914 and Much Ado Winter 1918.
On three dates in November, the audiences will be able to experience both productions back to back, with a 2.30pm showing of Love’s Labour’s Lost followed by a 7.30pm performance of Much Ado.
Though the plays are not technically related, they are often paired together due to the symmetry of the plots; two sparring lovers are separated at the end of Love’s Labour’s Lost, and two (albeit different) sparring lovers are reunited at the beginning of Much Ado.
Indeed, there is an academic theory that Shakespeare’s ‘lost’ play Love’s Labour’s Won may in fact have merely been another title for Much Ado.
The RSC is likely to be as reliable as ever when it comes to these two well-loved comedies and tickets can be found at www.atgtickets.com/Manchester or by calling the box office on 0844 871 3018.