My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This play is all froth and silliness! King Ferdinand and three lords of his court have vowed to study for three years, fasting, barely sleeping, and not keeping company with any women, in order to devote themselves exclusively to the pursuit of knowledge. But the Princess of France throws their plans and their vows into confusion when she arrives with the ladies of her court, seeking audience with the King on some political matters. King Ferdinand immediately falls in love with the Princess, and his lords fall in love with each of the Princess’ ladies.
In the ensuing confusion, a knave or two is arrested, love letters go astray, fools and comics deliver a multitude of puns and wordplay, notable scholars with heads full of Latin are consulted, lots of weak sonnets to lady loves are declaimed and overheard to the embarrassment of the love-torn poets. Eventually, the King and his lords must find a way to justify their broken vows and win the hearts of the ladies, but can they do it without making complete fools of themselves?
I loved how sassy and witty all the ladies are, especially Rosaline. She has a sharp tongue and some great dialogue. The Princess exhibits a lot of wisdom and has a quick mind. Their conversations are hilarious! I thought the attending lord Boyet with the Princess’ entourage was wonderfully sarcastic, and his banter always made me chuckle.
There is also a great B story with the strange Spaniard Armado and the simple Costard and the sensual wench Jaquenetta forming a weird love triangle and adding to the general confusion.
The ending is not what one expects from a comedy, but was definitely satisfying.