Friday, 19 July 2013

As you like it

Spend an evening in the fine company of Illyria Theatre with their spirited performance of As You Like It.

So I shall get the critical comment out the way. The first scenes need exploiting to make the opening sparkle, bring physicality to the fore, and seize every opportunity for Illyria's anarchic style of playfulness. Take Orlando, falling in love at first sight, struck dumb as he sees Rosalind. By then I should have relished this moment of his freeze-burn capture, understood his idea of love was hopelessly unrealistic, and sympathised with his predicament, knowing that love is as much a weakness as a strength.

Over the slow start, there's everything you can expect: enjoyably silly moments of physical comedy, clever use of costume, energetic performances, and music. The stage was used well, and the minimal stage furniture cleverly employed as screen, ladder, tree, and stairway for a cloud.

The interaction between Phoebe and Ganymede was well played, as was the melancholy Jacques. But my favourite moment was the comic sadness of what it is to love; the spurned lover Sylvius describes his torment in a style which descends from tearful sorrowing into a full-blown blubbering and howling.

And all outdoors on a perfectly clear summer evening!

If only to take advantage of fine weather and the pleasure of your picnic with an outdoor theatre, it's worth booking a ticket on one of their tour dates (take your own chair).


Irene said...

The one time that I did go to an outdoor performance of a Shakespeare play, I sat on a blanket on the grass and became hugely uncomfortable because I was too old to. Yes, definitely bring a beach chair and a lovely picnic and make it as pleasant for yourself as possible. It helps if there is a good sound system too.

Grit said...

we made as-you-like-it cake irene, in our usual tradition. chocolate, raisin and coconut, because they get us in the happy mood round here. xx