As You Like It, directed by Maria Aberg, music by Laura Marling
As You Like It is one of Shakespeare’s best known comedies. My A2 English class travelled 3 hours to see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s performance of it on 20th April. Now, you may not know this, but 23rd April is Shakespeare’s birthday. We hadn’t really anticipated that Stratford, on a sunny weekend two days before, would therefore be absolutely heaving with Shakespeare fans, theatre go-ers and people dressed as Tudors. After eventually finding a parking space at the Park and Ride (a new experience for several of us…“you park…and ride the bus?!”), we made it to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
|Nicolas Tennant as Touchstone |
and Alex Waldmann as Orlando
The court characters certainly looked the part; they were dressed in formidable black gowns and suits, but their stylised hand jive failed to impress me. Neither did the rectangular pit full of fragments of rubber that started off as the wrestling pit and then just seemed to cause mess and get in the way for the rest of the first act.
Everything changed however, once the characters reached the legendary Forest of Arden. The wooden pillars on the rotation moved to become trees and the characters were all dressed in bright colours with patterned jumpers, wellies, beanie hats and guitars. The festival theme, including the Duke Senior kitted out as an aging rock star, certainly added to the magical atmosphere, where all rules are suspended, especially when the priest entered as a drugged-up Jamaican with dreadlocks.
|Pippa Nixon as Rosalind|
Pippa Nixon played Rosalind-turned-Ganymede and she was a very good man, if that can be a compliment. Her funniest moment was when she discovered her love was in the forest and pulled down her trousers asking, “What shall I do with my doublet and hose?”
Oliver Ryan was the melancholy Jaques, brilliant merely because he was so fantastic at being sad when everyone around him was celebrating. Phoebe was played by Natalie Klamar and was hilarious as the shepherdess who falls in love with a woman pretending to be a man.
However, two actors stole the show for me.