On Thursday night we headed to the Globe to see As You Like It, one of Shakespeare's silliest comedies, which was replete with love, cross-dressing, word play, and pancakes. We were a bit wary of revisiting the Globe this season after being disappointed with an overly comedic version of Romeo and Juliet. However, As You Like It shines in every way possible and should be a delight to tourists and local theatre-goers.
Having previously directed Equus and Cloud Nine, Thea Sharrock is no stranger to role reversals and suggestive humour, which has prepared her well to direct this play. As You Like It is too often dismissed as yet another of Shakespeare's comedies, akin to Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, or The Winter's Tale. Sharrock reminds us that it should be appreciated in its own right by beautifully capturing the sense that we must not mistake the play for an imitation of true life. Orlando's love letters to Rosalind fall through every available opening rather than simply being posted to the 'trees' on stage.
The cast was superb and we had an incredibly tough time determining who the star of the show was. Naomi Frederick started off the show seeming a bit timid as Rosalind but then completely charmed us under the guise of Gannymeade. Tim McMullan as Jaques and Dominic Rowan as Touchstone both competed to win the title of most absurd. One manages to point out that we are all merely players on the world's stage while the other perfectly executes his lines so that the play's humour is not lost on the high-powered choreography. Jack Laskey is simultaneously sexy and frantic as Orlando who 'woos' Gannymeade in an effort to forget Rosalind. If we must choose, our favourite would have to be Laura Rogers as Rosalind's sisterly friend Celia. Celia tends to be one of the play's most easily forgotten characters but Rogers adds her own sharpness and sass to the role, ensuring that Celia is more than Rosalind's eager sidekick. We left the theatre feeling rather merry and would recommend this to anyone in the mood for a laugh.
As You Like It will be playing until 10 October at Shakespeare's Globe. For more information, visit the Globe's website. Photos by John Tramper.