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This review is from: Love's Labour's Lost: The Oxford Shakespeare (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Modern readers and playgoers will find this early effort from WS hard work, methinks, especially the 1,000-line final scene. Our bard was as keen to show off the extent of his learning as entertain an audience here, not surprising for a provincial incomer trying to make a name for himself in London, and the play suffers dramatic constipation as a result, with much straining at conceits, classical allusions and rank poor jokes. Yes, there are some pithy one-liners, a delightful scene of multiple eavesdropping (anticipating the far more accomplished Much Ado About Nothing), and an extended play within a play (better pulled off in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet) near the end, though the finale is a clumsy non-sequiteur and actually no such thing. Three plausible characters (Berowne, the Princess, and Boyet) are not enough to carry all the implausible nitwits, including the King, and a truckload of 'comic' types who, like many of WS's creations in this vein, are tedious rather than funny. This is a great edition, as ever from Oxford, but one for the purists only and containing far fewer laughs than the author intended - a bit like The Two Ronnies in that respect.