Have you ever read a piece of Shakespeare and just thought to yourself: “What the hell was that…?” In The Merchant of Venice for instance, three suitors compete for a lady’s hand by solving a riddle, but if they’re wrong, they have to remain celibate for life? Shakespeare’s lofty plots can often feel quite unrelatable, with characters often risking high stakes for relatively little reward. Love á la Modeafter Charles Macklin, however, plays into this madness to great comedic effect. First performed in 1759 as an after piece to The Merchant of Venice, the plot bears great resemblance to its predecessor, but doesn’t take itself half as seriously. In the play, four suitors compete to win the hand of Lady Charlotte.
The production blends its relatively dated subject matter with the modern seamlessly, beginning with the cast members surrounding the audience and chanting “Farce,” and ending with an ensemble rendition of “Hooked on A Feeling” by Blue Swede, which had everyone in the audience smiling from ear to ear. The audience’s enjoyment of Dramsoc’s inaugural production is entirely due to the efforts of its talented cast, who seem to have had great fun embracing the sheer lunacy of their roles. While the entire cast and crew do an excellent job of selling this comedy of errors, special mention must be given to Ryan Haran and Bronagh McMullan, who portray Mordecai and Lady Theodora respectively. Haran is entirely convincing as the foppish dandy Mordecai, equal parts moody teenager and court jester. McMullan on the other hand, dominates the scenes that she features in, through the use of excellent body language and dry delivery, which never failed to leave the audience in fits of laughter.
Love á la Mode was designed from its inception as an after piece to weightier Shakespeare productions, a light piece of desert, if you will. However, in the case of Dramsoc, Love á la Mode feels more like an appetizer designed to whet the appetite, and I for one, will be waiting eagerly for their main course