|"As You Might Like It"|
by Jon Appleton for remotegoat on 27/01/12
This lively production of Shakespeare's As You Like It is seemingly, according to the publicity, set in modern day London and uses the Occupy London tent city outside of St Paul's Cathedral as a replacement for the original setting of the Forest of Arden.
Although the play, with it's whimsical motif of cross-dressing and mistaken identity works well the contemporary setting does not add anything to the whole. It has to be said that it does not detract from the enjoyment of this production more just serves to indicate how tricky it can be to perhaps force an updating on a play that resists it so well.
I'm not going to go on about the story here as it's a well known plot, and if you don't know what it's about then I'd suggest you have a quick Google of it before heading off to see any production of it, even if it's a well trimmed version that's obviously been targeted at people who find Shakespeare slightly less than immediately accessible. The ensemble cast are largely nothing short of superb and the near comic perfection of Silvius (Jeffrey Ho) is a joy to behold.
Will Wheeler acquits himself ably as Orlando in this his first lead role and is obviously destined for greater things.
To those going to see this I'd say wear layers as the White Bear can become terribly hot so it's good to be prepared, and, like all Shakespeare, the first act is not the rip roaring laugh-a-thon that the second is. So come, be slightly bewildered by the references to Occupy London, then put them out of your mind and settle down to enjoy this well crafted, nimbly acted, nicely paced update of the classic Shakespearean play and leave after two hours (and a 15 minute interval) with a smile on your face.
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