Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Friday, 24 April 2015
As You Like It, 24 April 2015 ***1/2
By William Shakespeare, Bell Shakespeare Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre
Melbourne, until 10 May 2015 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: ***1/2 Full review below. Review also published in Herald Sun in print on Monday 27 April and online. KH
charming production of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, As You Like It, playfully
emphasises the silliness of love and lovers and the oddly predictable
changeability of human nature.
Evans directs the play imaginatively with a nod to the ridiculousness of its
story, the absurdity of its characters and the mischievousness of Shakespeare’s
witty and bawdy dialogue.
being banished from her jealous uncle’s court, as was her father, Duke Senior (Alan
Dukes), before her, Rosalind (Zahra Newman) disguises herself as a youth and
escapes with her loyal cousin, Celia (Kelly Paterniti), and the lascivious
jester, Touchstone (Gareth Davies).
In the Forest
of Arden, they encounter Silvius (George Banders), a lovelorn shepherd, his
beloved Phebe (Emily Eskell), and, eventually, they find Rosalind’s father and
his band of lords.
Orlando (Charlie Garber), dispossessed by his greedy brother, Oliver (Dorje
Swallow), and overwhelmed by his idiotic love, pursues Rosalind to the Forest
where he pens appallingly bad, romantic verses about her and pins them to
Rosalind in her guise as the boy, Ganymede, and she impishly proposes to teach
him the ways of love, its pitfalls and the foibles of fickle women.
brings passion, wit and muscularity to the role of Rosalind, the most fully
developed character in the play.
is intelligent, independent of thought, loving and chaste, but her composure is
disrupted when she falls in love with young Orlando.
willowy Garber gives Orlando a boyish callowness offset by his intemperate rage
and self-indulgent romanticism, but the requisite sexual chemistry is lacking between
Rosalind and Orlando until the final scenes.
Artistic Director of Bell Shakespeare, John Bell, is exceptional as Jaques, the
melancholy lord, and he delivers with elegant simplicity and a distinctive lack
of flourish one of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches: The Seven Ages of Man.
with the renowned lines, “All the world’s a stage/And all the men and women
merely players,’ then, in sparse and compelling verse, elucidates the life
cycle of humanity from cradle to grave.
the clownish elements in Shakespeare’s play with both physical comic business
and verbal jokes.
Taylor brings his impeccable timing and comic sensibilities to old Adam, Orlando’s
devoted servant, employing stillness, mute obedience and restrained physical
comedy to make Adam a comic highlight of the production.
Davies relishes the vulgar innuendo and gracelessness of the character but
overplays the role with unbridled shouting and hysterical gestures.
is deliciously mischievous and perky as Celia, bringing the character to life
with her lively interpretation of the dialogue.
Like it includes several songs and Abi Tucker provides some vivacious singing while
the finale features a spirited and entertaining nine-part harmony of Under The
Hankin’s sparse design begins as an empty theatre space with only a basket-ware
skip and an abandoned ladder, but it blooms into the Forest of Arden with festoons
of flowers dangling from an overhead rig.
the Elizabethan language, Shakespeare’s verse and banter about love and
courtship have a contemporary interpretation in Evan’s production, and the
bold, colourful costumes give the characters a 1960s style.
production is vibrant, cheeky and funny but it is the sonorous tones and
philosophical musings of John Bell as Jaques that remain with one after the