Love's Labour's Lost (1932): Westminster Theatre, London
PrLove's Labour's Lost (1932)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Vivienne Bennett (Rosaline); Vera Poliakoff (Katherine); Anthony Quayle (Navarre); Abraham Sofaer (Berowne).
"Mr. Abraham Sofaer was an admirable choice for Biron [Berowne]. He has a fine voice, a most agreeably clear elocution, and his phrasing (to take a term from the singer's art) is excellent. I could wish that the general pace had not been so rushed, because even in spite of these accomplishments we missed some of his lines - and they are not lines to miss." ~ Punch, July 1932 [V&A Performance Archive]
"Mr. Tyrone Guthrie, without benefit of greenery, has not only a roof above him, but a very small stage behind him. He has decided that the thing can be done by making the acting a cascade of conceits, bubbling so fast that one does not greatly bother to seize the detail. You may call it gabbled, if you like. But there is a tune in the delivery and a rare spirit of attack, notably in Mr. Sofaer's Biron, which is full of that Elizabethan self-relish, the immense joy in cerebral sparkling and conceit of phrase, and is exactly right in its appetite for beauties, whether French and feminine or verbal and vocal." ~ Ivor Brown, Observer, 10 July 1932
"Mr. Guthrie rightly perceived that to make a success of the farce which, towards the end, dissolves itself into charade and pantomime, two conditions should prevail in the production. First, simplicity of projection; next, a swift, almost breathless, pace by the performers. He achieved the former by the lovely set of a Medician garden vaulting over a bubbling cascade, so that the bridge was used as a rostrum and the action alternated without a change of scenery. Within this frame, the costumes, resplendent in cut and colour, the tasteful designs of Miss Molly MacArthur, harmonised to perfection. As for pace, it was not allowed to flag for a moment, except when the paired-off lovers pivoted from frolic to sentiment. Then, rightly, did Mr. Guthrie allow the action to travel andante and the words to reign supreme. This careful modulation of the delivery of the text gave the actors excellent opportunities to endow their characters with definite vitality. Thus Mr. Abraham Sofaer, a most poetic Biron, perhaps a trifle too earnest instead of wholly whimsical. But how the poetry flowered and grew on his lips in the magnificent poising and articulation of his diction!" ~ Sketch, 20 July 1932