July 9, 2009, by Peter Kirwan

Press night cancellation

Disappointingly, the press night for the Globe’s revival of Dominic Dromgoole’s Love’s Labour’s Lost has been cancelled, due apparently to the fact that it’s a very brief run and, obviously, a revival. I say disappointingly, because I had a press ticket for it and apparently the Globe offer complimentary pies, which I was quite looking forward to!

So, why has it been cancelled? It’s particularly interesting because the 2007 production was an enormous critical success, and one would imagine that good reviews for the revival would therefore be a relatively safe bet.

Perhaps the Globe doesn’t think it will get press interest? This is certainly possible; but then, the revival last summer of Greg Doran’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was fully covered again; and, indeed, yet again when it transferred to the Novello.

Is it because they don’t have confidence in the new cast? The actors haven’t been announced yet, but perhaps the theatre are worried that they won’t, considering the brevity of the run, be able to achieve the standard set by the original cast. There will certainly be some changes, as at least some of the original cast members are committed elsewhere.

Perhaps they’re trying to downplay the prominence of this production: it is, after all, only on for a few performances, right at the tail end of the season. I can’t imagine that being the case though – if it was, why put on the production at all?

Maybe the company don’t actually WANT press attention. If you’re rehearsing a full-scale production but only doing sixteen performances, do you feel ready to be seen by the press?

I’m guessing the most likely reason is financial. Rather than give away press tickets, they’re planning to sell out every night. A press night in the middle of such a short run is inevitably disruptive, and rather pointless in terms of ticket sales: by the time the reviews are out, the production will be ready to close. Considering the reputation of the original production, it’s presumably a guaranteed seller, and therefore the Globe consider it to be in the press’ interest not to waste their time, and the accounts department’s interests to sell every last ticket in order to justify putting on the production at all.

Whatever the reasons, it’s something of a shame, but it’ll be interesting to see what kind of coverage the production does end up receiving. Revivals are always in something of a difficult position, and I hope that ultimately this Love’s Labour’s Lost merits being dragged out of mothballs.

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