The Shoemaker’s Holiday
NEXT door in the RST they are currently staging Love’s Labour’s Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won. Thomas Dekker’s joyous city comedy shares common ground with both.
Penned in the late sixteenth century, central to the plot are two tales of love lost and then found.
There is young shoemaker Ralph Damport (Daniel Boyd) separated from his wife Jane (Hedydd Dylan) when he’s sent off to war, returning, albeit injured, just in time to save her from the clutches of the lustful Hammon (Jamie Wilkes).
Then there is young aristocrat Rowland Lacy (Josh O’Connor) who disguises himself as a Dutch cobbler to escape the war and returns to London in a bid to woo the beautiful Rose Oatley (Thomasin Rand) – despite the objections of both his uncle Sir Hugh Lacy (Vincent Carmichael) and her father the Lord Mayor of London (William Gaminara).
Aside from the love, there’s a clear message that if you get your head down and work hard you can get on, in the shape of the larger-than-life madcap chief cobbler Simon Eyre, played by a too long away from the RSC stage David Troughton, who rises to become London Mayor – and makes a not dissimilar one to Boris.
At his side is ditsy wife Margery (Vivien Parry) whose elevation in life includes looking like an Aunt Sally Elizabeth I with a Spitting Image Elizabeth II voice.
The best of the play’s laughs come from the antics of randy Hammon, as he tries his luck with both Rose and Jane, and young Lacy as the Dutchman, bawdy journeyman cobbler Firk (Joel MacCormack) with Jack Holden’s camp King stealing the closing scene.
A load of cobblers? Phillip Breen’s pacy production is anything but.
The Shoemaker’s Holiday runs until March 7. Visit www.rsc.org for tickets and further details.
Love lost and found – Rowland Lacy (Josh O’Connor) and Rose Oatley (Thomasin Rand). (s)