Thompson in RSC Love’s Labour’s Lost

Published: 15 February 2024
Reporter: Steve Orme

Luke Thompson (Berowne)
Melanie-Joyce Bermudez (Princess)
Ioanna Kimbook (Rosaline)
Rilwan Abiola Owokoniran (Ferdinand)

Luke Thompson will make his Royal Shakespeare Company debut as Berowne in Love’s Labour’s Lost, Emily Burns’ “playful and contemporary take on Shakespeare’s vibrant comedy”.

Thompson won the WhatsOnStage award for best supporting performer in a play for his role as Willem in Koen Tachelet, Ivo van Hove and Hanya Yanagihara’s adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life at London’s Harold Pinter Theatre in 2023.

Also making their Royal Shakespeare Company debuts will be Melanie-Joyce Bermudez as the Princess, Ioanna Kimbook as Rosaline and Rilwan Abiola Owokoniran as Ferdinand.

Bermudez played Regan in Kenneth Branagh’s production of King Lear at Wyndham’s Theatre in 2023. Kimbook appeared in Lulu Raczka’s Women, Beware the Devil at the Almeida Theatre in 2023, while Owokoniran won the 2023 Ian Charleson Award for his professional debut as Algernon Moncrieff in the ETT, Leeds Playhouse and Rose Theatre production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

Love’s Labour’s Lost will be the first play programmed by RSC co-artistic directors Daniel Evans and Tamara Harvey.

Director Emily Burns said, “I’m delighted to be working with this outstanding company. This production contextualises the lords—with their strict regime of self-improvement, restrictive dieting and perverse ideas about the intellectual benefits of chastity—as modern tech billionaires, whose lease of land from the Princess’s father is the real catalyst for the play.

“As the men play at being adults, the women take agency over the men’s childish games to serve their own ends. Love’s Labour’s Lost is a romantic comedy but it’s also a meditation on fiction and reality, on the intertwining of language and power, and on the moment one ‘grows up’. It’s an enormous privilege to have such a talented, rigorous and joyful company to explore that with.”

The cast also includes Jack Bardoe (Don Armado), Brandon Bassir (Dumaine), Jeffrey Chekai (Marcade), Iskandar Eaton (Moth), Nathan Foad (Costard), Sarita Gabony (Maria), Tony Gardner (Holofernes), Shailan Gohil (ensemble), Amy Griffiths (Katherine), Kok-Hwa Lie (Dull), Jordan Metcalfe (Boyet), Tika Mu’tamir (ensemble), Marienella Phillips (Jaquenetta), Eric Stroud (Longaville) and Jamie Tyler (ensemble).

The creative team comprises Joanna Scotcher (set and costume design), Neil Austin (lighting designer), Paul Englishby (composer), George Dennis (sound designer), Shelley Maxwell (choreographer) and Charlotte Sutton CDG (casting director).

Love’s Labour’s Lost will run in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford from Thursday 11 April until Saturday 18 May.

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