'Love's Labour's Lost' lacks finesse;

A carpet of grassy green provides the playing area for the Circle Repertory Company's modern-dress revival of ''Love's Labour's Lost'' staged by Toby Robertson. Here it is that the Princess of France (Trish Hawkins) and her ladies invade the academic retreat recently established by the King of Navarre (Christopher Goutman) and his lords. Designer Franco Colavecchia's greensward, airily lighted by Dennis Parichy, adapts itself handily to the fun and games of misdelivered love notes, masquerades, clownish historical pageant, and the embroidery of musical numbers composed by Norman L. Berman.

Besides those already mentioned, principals in the Circle Rep production include Michael Ayr and Charlotte Graham (Berowne and Rosaline). Michael Higgins and Colin Fox make a droll pair as Holofernes and Sir Nathaniel, the curate. For the rest of the comedy contingent, while the comic spirit is willing, the finesse tends to be weak.

The revival illustrates the pitfalls frequently inherent in efforts to ''do'' something with Shakespeare. For instance, Laura Crow's boutiquerie of trendy costumes accents the verbal anachronisms.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.