"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Saturday, October 01, 2016
AS YOU LIKE IT
AS YOU LIKE IT
at St Martin's Church, Colchester
tyres, the obligatory
traffic cone, discarded toys. Could be another part of Butterworth's
this is the French court, re-imagined as a community of Travellers,
where Orlando is “rustically at home”. This bold transposition,
though it sits uneasily with talk of noble birth, successfully
suggests the passion and violence of the sibling rivalry, and evokes
the exotic aristocracy of the Travellers.
the play is set in the Forest of Arden, and this is delightfully
transformed into a Folk
Festival, allowing scope for the many songs [composer
and MD Adam Abo-Henriksen]
and for Jacques' open-mic stand-up Seven Ages, compellingly
delivered by Thomas Edwards.
text survives the transition very well, with excellent verse speaking
across the company.
Keogh makes a superb Rosalind, setting off with a bed-roll for the
Festival, sharing confidences with her friend Celia [Charlotte
Luxford], dressing as Ganymede in baseball cap,
bomber jacket and hosiery cod-piece. We can see in her open, honest
face how deep she is in love; she has some lovely chemistry with her
Orlando [ a youthful, assured
Alec Clements] –
taking his hand, offering her services, snatching a kiss.
we lose Touchstone and Audrey in the forest, there
is inevitably some serious doubling. Most bizarrely Charles
the red-masked wrestler and Phoebe the Proud Shepherdess, both
memorably done by Benjamin Power. Phoebe, a vision in pink, certainly
not for all markets, even steals the Epilogue from Rosalind. And
milks her Adele moment in the best known number.
too long, perhaps, as are
some of the other songs. Generally the pace is good, and the cuts
bring this touring show in at under two hours, plus interval.
eight actors, which seems to be the magic minimum for most of
Shakespeare. It's the number that Shakespeare's Globe tours with, and
they could do worse than to borrow Tom Foster's lively, contemporary
take on the pastoral – it would work wonderfully with a picnic in
the open air.