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Love’s Labour’s Lost
a Musical Comedy
by Michael Friedman (songs) and Alex Timbers (adaptation from Shakespeare)

COMPANY : Zero Circle Theatre Company
VENUE : Discovery Point Studio [WEBSITE]
ID# 5297

SHOWING : July 05, 2018 - July 08, 2018



Adapted from William Shakespeare’s delightful comedy by Tony-nominee Alex Timbers ("Peter and the Starcatcher") and with a raucous score by Michael Friedman ("Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson"), this infectiously joyous musical reexamines privilege in America with the show’s division between the well-educated, angsty 20-somethings and the "rustic" characters -- the working class, the townies, the rest of us.

Music Director Daniel Hilton
Director Patrick Schweigert
Costume Designer Nicole Clockel
Stage Mananger Sydney Lee
Lighting Designer Landon Robinson
Rosaline Rose Alexander
Mercadé Brandy Bell
Nathaniel Caty Bergmark
Dumaine Jovahn Burroughs
Boyet Michael Dotson
Berowne Elliott Folds
Jaquenetta Shelby Folks
Costard Andrew David Harrison
Moth Daniel Hilton
Female Swing/Ensemble Lizzy Liu
Katherine Isabella Martinez
Male Swing Terry Pendleton
Dull Megan Poole
The Princess Ashley Prince
Holofernes Mary Saville
Maria Laura Spears
Don Armado Juan Carlos Unzueta
The King Jacob Valleroy
Longaville Jeofry Wages
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Rewarding Labour
by playgoer
Monday, July 9, 2018
The musical "Love’s Labour’s Lost" is based on the "Spring Awakening" model of marrying a classic text with songs reflecting a modern sensibility. Alex Timbers has adapted Shakespeare to strip the story to its basics, and Michael Friedman has added songs that increase the female perspective in Shakespeare’s story of four post-college men who vow to spend years in solitude, study, and sexual abstinence, then immediately abandon their vows when in the presence of four women.

Music director, pianist, flautist, and cheerily off-hand cast member Daniel Hilton adds the credit of set designer, providing a lovely set consisting of an astroturf-covered platform containing a tiny pool, backed by a lattice and vine-covered wall, and augmented by a bar and cantina set-up stage right. The large number of band instruments is housed in the alcove present in the upstage area of the Aurora black box space. As for the band members, they all do double duty as cast members. Triple threats of actor/singer/musician individuals abound, and while the small space and large cast preclude extensive choreography, everyone moves well.

Director Patrick Schweigert starts the production with an informal introduction of cast members as they wander across the playing space in character. His curtain speech then gives way to completion of the curtain speech by the cast. It all gives the feel of a poolside party, and the subsequent action keeps up the buoyant energy.

The cast is pretty evenly balanced. Voices are good throughout. As might be expected, Juan Carlos Unzueta’s singing is unparalleled, and he is wonderfully cast as the Hispanic-inflected Don Armado. Jacob Valleroy presents a sweet-voiced, forthright King, and Ashley Prince is full of sass and sparkle as the Princess. Rose Alexander (Rosaline), Isabella Martinez (Katherine), and Laura Spears (Maria) back her up with their individual charms and bright personalities. Jeofry Wages gives an idiosyncratic spin to Longaville, one of the King’s cohorts, while Jovahn Burroughs doesn’t provide much added spark as Dumaine, another cohort. Elliott Folds’ singing voice is a bit thin as Berowne, the King’s main friend, but his engaging personality and trombone/tuba skills more than make up for a lack of vocal resonance. Choral singing is all first-rate.

The minor characters ably fill out the cast. Andrew David Harrison is a weak actor as Costard, but plays guitar and banjo in the band. Lizzy Liu has little to do in the plot, but impresses in what she does, which is mostly in playing bowed string instruments. Brandy Bell (Mercadé), Shelby Folks (Jaquenetta), Caty Bergmark (Nathaniel), and Mary Saville (Holofernes) play their roles with lighthearted conviction, and Michael Dotson does a very nice job as obsequious go-between Boyet. Megan Poole has a Denny Dillon-like presence as a blonde sparkplug whose enthusiasm is equaled only by her Dull-ness ("Dull" being the name of her character).

Nicole Clockel’s costumes do a wonderful job of indicating character, and Landon Robinson’s lighting enhances the spirit of every scene. While the intermissionless production clocks in at close to two hours, the time passes quickly. Shakespeare’s plot doesn’t have a particularly happy ending, but the production as a whole provides more than adequate satisfaction. And Zero Circle Theatre is providing great stage time for talented young Atlanta performers starting out on promising careers. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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