"Folly finds forgiveness for finale"
by Lita Doolan for remotegoat on 12/08/18

The fragrant gardens of St Peters provides the perfect backdrop for Shakespeare's pastoral comedy. Bold colour blocks are used in the cosume design so we clearly understand the location and identity of the characters in what can be a convoluted plot. The colour tones are a shade darker than the flowers native to the church gardens so it appears the action blossoms out of the plants. Everything feels natural in this 90 minute performance as the action flows, aided with song, live music and celebratory dance.

Chairs and blankets are available for the audience's comfort as we stretch out on the lawn and enjoy the embers of the heatwave in the sky. Rosalind is fair and strong as she is exiled to the forest with her friend, eventually finding love as a reward for her strong convictions.

The solid direction of the show offers the interpretation that if you trust the community around you then problems will resolve themselves. The journey each character takes to forgive the ills that have been directed at them interweaves as conflicts of varying severity are played out. One argument is dissolved with a sparky boxing match that is thrillingly pursued under the nose of the front row.

The cast take great pains to connect the action to the audience so we feel part of the plot. The inspiration from Rosalind, with Orlando watching from a distance, is to bloom whenever life offers the opportunity. With the sounds of the distant seagulls overhead and Arthur's seat viewed outside the venue, C Theatre serves up Shakespeare as we like it, rich, beautiful and connected.

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