The play opens with the king and three of his followers deciding to swear off women for the next three years. They're going to do nothing but study, no women in sight. So, of course, four attractive single ladies immediately show up on the scene and you can imagine that antics that follow. Each of the guys falls in love with one of the girls and goes about trying to woo her, without letting his fellows know that he is breaking the oath that they all took. Love notes are written and secretly passed, the messenger gives the wrong note to the wrong girl, and silliness follows. It all gets straightened out at we end with the promise of a wedding, as all the comedies do.It's not one of Shakespeare's greatest, which is probably obvious given that nobody's heard of it. If it's famous for anything it is for the complicated word games all throughout it where Shakespeare was showing off exactly what he could do, including an appearance by the word "honorificabilitudinitatibus." So it can be hard to follow, and productions will rely on over the top physical comedy to keep the audience interested and laughing.Kenneth Branagh made a movie version, but it didn't do so well. I couldn't tell you whether that's because it wasn't a good version, or it just reinforces the fact that nobody recognizes this play. I didn't see it.
I thought the scenery was excellent this year. Most years they go with some sort of "decorated scaffold" sort of thing where it's obvious that there's a center exit, and some sort of upper level. I don't even know what they were trying to go for here - is it a castle? a forest? A wall? All the above? It looks a bit like the Emerald City. But I like it!