As You Like It
From: Wednesday, 13th August 2003
To: Saturday, 30 August 2003
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Written around 1600 and set in two contrasting communities; city and forest. Rosalind and Celia have been banished from Court. In fear of their lives, they disguise themselves and seek sanctuary in the Forest of Arden. Amongst the magical and ancient boughs, Rosalind discovers her exiled father, uncovers various truths about herself and others...and falls helplessly in love. But in this earthly paradise nothing is quite what it seems: men do not always act like men, and women can be anything at all...Uplifting, awe-inspiring and immense fun, Shakespeare's wondrous comedy is a joyous celebration of the liberating power of love and the redeeming spirit of nature.
19 August 2003
With the advent of summer, productions of As You Like It, like Midsummer Night's Dream, come not as single spies but in battalions. This is the third major one I've been to so far this year, following revivals at Stratford and Bristol's Tobacco Factory.
And what a plum-pudding of a production it is, featuring the best Touchstone and Jaques this year, at least, and two cameo roles from veteran comedian Eric Sykes. Surprisingly it is the first time Sir Peter Hall has directed this evergreen comedy, which is here rather pointlessly, and somewhat jarringly, updated to modern dress.
But, what this production brings home better than any I've seen is the underlying harshness of life beneath all the verbal play, the manners and the 'hey nonny nohs'. The early forest scenes in particular, which feature the bloody remains of a stag, highlight this theme that life is, at base, a struggle for survival for everyone and everything.
Duke is pitted ag...
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