AS YOU LIKE IT
by William Shakespeare,
Shakespeare’s Globe 21 New Globe Walk Bankside SE1 9DT In rep to 5 September 2015.
2pm 22, 26, 29 May, 9, 11, 13, 30 Jun, 2, 4 Jul, 8, 12, 19, 20 Aug, 3, 4 Sept.
12am 14 Aug.
Audio-described 8 Aug 7.30pm.
BSL Signed 4 Jul.
Captioned 9 Jul.
Runs 3hr 10min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7401 9919.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 20 May.
A happy production that fulfils its title.
Shakespeare thrives on contrasts – they’re a major part of his dramatic energy. Blanche McIntyre seems to enjoy them too, beginning this comedy with a solemn funeral procession around the Globe auditorium. It’s the funeral of good old Sir Roland de Boys, and marks-out the majority, following Oliver, his heir, and a minority of two.
The old Adam – unusually lively in Phil Whitchurch’s hale performance, making the gift of his life-savings more generous – and Orlando, youngest of the de Boys, are marked-out. Orlando’s anger against his brother soon has them grappling. This might prompt Oliver to set professional wrestler Charles to kill Orlando. It certainly establishes Orlando’s skill, making the wrestling match’s outcome credible.
Simon Harrison’s tall, lean and imposing figure contrasts William Mannering’s sneakily contriving Oliver. But Orlando is a babe in the wood with love. He and Ellie Piercey’s loyal Celia play their part, but from the first Michelle Terry’s Rosalind dominates. She may not be more than common tall, but she’s a bundle of passionate intensity, her sexual enthusiasm conditioning almost every inflection.
Having left Orlando, whose torso bared for wrestling has had her near-swooning, the slightest suggestion he called has her running back across the Globe yard. Yet she’d never be anybody’s adjunct, having far too much life and energy. If ever an actor flung herself at a part, it’s Terry with Rosalind.
Elsewhere, contrasts seem to emerge naturally. David Beames’ good and bad rulers are presented with a light voice that expects unquestioning obedience in ways dictatorial or based on moral sense. It’s always surprising, and not really explained here, why Touchstone, so proud of his courtly ways, should marry rough rural Audrey.
Yet their match, like the contrast (a variant of the humour and seriousness in Twelfth Night’s Feste and Malvolio) between jester and melancholic seen in Daniel Crossley’s philosophical joker Touchstone, darting mentally and at times physically around, and the depressive Jaques, whom James Garnon makes surprisingly comfortable with his pessimism and rejection of society, all serve in this happy production as a reminder that everyone has their own way of liking life.
Duke Senior/Duke Frederick: David Beames.
Touchstone: Daniel Crossley.
Corin: Patrick Driver.
Jaques: James Garnon.
Orlando: Simon Harrison.
Phebe: Gwyneth Keyworth.
Oliver/Amiens: William Mannering
Silvius: Jack Monaghan.
Audrey: Sophia Nomvete.
Celia: Ellie Piercey.
Charles/Hymen: Gary Shelford.
Le Beau/Jaques de Boys: Perri Snowdon.
Rosalind: Michelle Terry.
Adam: Phil Whitchurch.
Lords: James Donovan, Stefan Trout.
Director: Blanche McIntyre.
Designer: Andrew D Edwards.
Composer: Johnny Flynn.
Musical Director: Adrian Woodward.
Choreographer: Siân Edwards.
Globe associate – Text: Giles Block.
Globe associate – Movement: Glynn Macdonald.
Voice/Dialect: Martin McKellan.
Fight director: Bret Yount.
Assistant director: Jack Lowe.