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Love’s Labour’s Lost at the National Theatre

Brittany Luck

Trevor Nunn's direction of Shakepeare's early play Love's Labour's Lost enhances a delightful production about the games of love and wit by casting it into sharp relief with its own dark shadings.

Nunn sets the play in the England of World War I, which gives him the ability to display both the pastoral world of old England and to add a war frame that reminds us Shakespeare's play is as much about loss as it is about love.

With capable performances by all of the cast, including Joseph Fiennes, Kate Fleetwood and Simon Day, none of the original wit is missed. Yet, Shakespeare's commentary on the transience of life might have been overlooked without Nunn's insightful direction. Just as Shakespeare re-interprets the traditional lighthearted romantic comedy by preventing the lovers from gaining their objects, Nunn twists the play again with his frame, challenging us to enjoy fleeting pleasures before troubles come.

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