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|Brendan Hughes||Duke Frederick|
|Gregory Gudgeon||Le Beau, William|
|Sean Kearns||Charles, Corin|
|Philip Bird||Duke Senior|
|Peter Gale||Amiens, Sir Oliver Martext|
|Ewart James Walters||Hymen|
|Rob Millett||Musical Direction/Supervision|
|Roland Ott||Executive Producer|
|Stephen Warbeck||Score Composer|
Posted October 1, 2010
Thea Sharrocks's "As You Like It" is a welcome addition to filmed versions of the play. The most accessible films are the BBC/TimeLife version from the late 1970s and the 2006 Kenneth Branagh film set in Japan both of which suffer from the effort to make the Forest of Arden a realistic rather than magical place of our imagination. The plainness of the Globe stage allows Shakespeare's words and characters to transport us from the corrupt, violent court to the pastoral world of the forest where all are welcomed and accepted for who they are. The transformation from court to forest is simply shown by the removal of black draperies from the columns to reveal plain wood 'trees,' which allow us to enter a world of music and tranquility.
The production is spirited and lively and the actors certainly seem to be enjoying it. There is tremendous sense of fun. The only slightly sour note is the unnecessarily violent expulsion of Oliver by Duke Frederick.
As Rosalind, one of the most demanding female roles in Shakespeare, Naomi Frederick performs superbly, portraying a woman of wit and intelligence while maintaining a balance between femininity and masculinity. Moving easily between Rosalind and Ganymede, she is in control while indulging in witty banter with Orlando but reveals her feminine vulnerability to Aliena as soon as he has gone. She is ably supported by Laura Rogers as Celia/Aliena, who conveys a warmth and sense of humor not often seen in this role. Jack Laskey as Orlando is suitably 'Byronic' as the romantic hero who needs to learn from Rosalind that his unrealistic view of love can lead only to disillusionment.
The Jaques of Tim McMullan is a fresh interpretation of the part. The "Seven Ages Of Man" speech is meaningfully delivered (he even delights the audience by picking out a 'whining schoolboy' from their midst). Dominic Rowan's highly energetic Touchstone is a great crowd pleaser whose physical presentation of the "lie seven times removed" evokes much laughter. Of the other minor characters, the old shepherd Corin stands out. Sean Kerns invests him with dignity confirming the worth of the simple life of a shepherd. The songs which are an integral apart of the play are enhanced by the pleasant voice of Peter Gale.
In addition to the filmed performance, a cast gallery and famous speeches are included on the disc. These extra features should prove useful for educational purposes.
This video is a thoroughly entertaining production of one of Shakespeare's happiest plays. I recommend it highly.
Posted February 20, 2012
No text was provided for this review.