Thursday, 10 October 2013

As You Like It - The Rose Theatre Bankside

THE shadowy and dark setting of the Rose Theatre on Bankside is the perfect backdrop for Shakespeare’s romantic play As You Like It.

And director Jessica Ruano’s lively and spirited production now on at the Rose Theatre is a real treat.

The play centres on Rosalind, the daughter of a banished duke, who falls in love with Orlando at a wrestling match. Jealous of her popularity her uncle orders her to leave the court, despite protestations from both Rosalind and her cousin Celia.

Disguised as a boy she flees in the dead of night with Celia and court jester Touchstone and seeks out her father and his friends in the Forest of Arden.

Here she meets Orlando again and, under the guise of a young man, counsels him in the art of love.

This is a much pared down version of the Bard’s classic with no sub plots and an absence of Touchstone.

But although it appears slightly disjointed in places and has a rather abrupt ending, it is entertaining and makes fantastic use of the archaeological site in which it is staged and the seven members of the cast convey the story well.

The sparring early on between Suzanne Marie as Rosalind and Stacy Sobieski as Celia and was great fun and Andrew Venning as Jacques was suitably melancholy.

However it was the delightful paring of Matthew Howell as Orlando and Suzanne Marie as Rosalind which really shined.

As You Like It is on at the Rose Theatre until October 26. Call the box office on 020 7261 9565

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