Love's Labor's Lost: The Arkangel Shakespeare

  • by William Shakespeare
  • Narrated by Alex Jennings, Emma Fielding, Samantha Bond, Greg Wise, Alan Howard
  • 2 hrs and 26 mins
  • Performance

Publisher's Summary

A play replete with puns and double-entendres, this is one of Shakespeare's earliest and most lighthearted.
The young king of Navarre and three of his courtiers have vowed to lock themselves away for three years of study and fasting, and to forswear the company of women for this period. No sooner is their vow made than it is tested, however, as the princess of France and three of her ladies arrive in Navarre on a diplomatic mission. The young men fall instantly and hopelessly in love, and the tension between their vow and their passion forms the subject of this charming and sparkling early comedy.
Berowne is played by Alex Jennings and Rosaline by Emma Fielding. Samantha Bond is the princess, and Greg Wise the king of Navarre. Alan Howard plays Don Armado.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Cast list? Scene breaks?

What made the experience of listening to Love's Labor's Lost: The Arkangel Shakespeare the most enjoyable?

The performance is splendid and very engaging.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Samantha Bond as the Princess of France. Her voice is unique and her delivery always has an undercurrent of deliciousness.

On the other hand, she's the only character I recognize, and since Amazon/Audible doesn't think it is important to credit all the players with their parts in recordings of theatrical works, I might single out another character/performer but I have no idea who they are.

Amazon/Audible: are actors just fungible? Do they not matter? Why is a cast list (by character) not provided with EVERY recording of a play or other theatrical work?

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

Well this question itself demonstrates Amazon/Audible's lack of understanding of what recorded drama is. THERE IS MORE THAN ONE NARRATOR!!!!!


But, the players in this recording are all wonderful, speaking freely, clearly and with great engagement. Their tone is contemporary, clear, and playful.

Just great theatre!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Love's Labor's Lost. Duh!!! Why does it need a tag line?

Any additional comments?

In addition to my comments above referencing the way Amazon/Audible obscures the actors and their roles in these recorded plays (yes, its that way with EVERY Shakespeare recording you sell), it is beyond frustrating to have this recording delivered with two "chapters" and no option for a proper Act/Scene breakdown. Each Act and Scene should be a separate track, so that you can easily listen to just a particular scene.

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- Andrew E. Yarosh


The plot was a bit underwhelming but the dialogue was nearly razor sharp. Sometimes, Shakespeare's early plays just seem like discoing dervishes in a mirror-adorned room. As a reader we are amazed, dazzled, and distracted by all that is going on, by the spinning virtuosity of Shakespeare's words, by his absolute mastery of the English language, by his dash, his deft slight-of-tongues, but there just doesn't seem to be enough central narrative gravity to IT to pull the reader completely through it. It just seems heavy on the baroque icing and less focused on narrative complexity.

Shakespeare data dumps his genius for wit, flirtatious innuendo, and language with some fantastic lines, but wasn't flirting with a fully developed form yet. I feel like I'm looking at early, beautiful Picasso sketches, Da Vinci cartoons. But I want more. It really isn't you Shakespeare it is me.

Still, the play is fun, a frolic, a half-jest and nudge. It is also Shakespeare playing with the comedic form. He is rejecting and twisting the form to suit his wishes. Not yet the master of the English World, he is playing the master he will soon be.

I can't disagree too much with Harold Bloom: "Love's Labour's Lost is a festival of language, an exuberant fireworks display in which Shakespeare seems to seek the limits of his verbal resources and discovers that there are none."

Some of my favorite quotes:

― “Never durst a poet touch a pen to write
Until his ink was tempered with love's sighs.
From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They are the ground, the books, the academes,
From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire” (Act IV.3).

― “They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps” (Act V.1)

― “O, they have lived long on the alms-basket of words. I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word; for thou art not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus: thou art easier swallowed than a flap-dragon” (Act V.1).
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- Darwin8u

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-13-2014
  • Publisher: Arkangel