Review: As You Like It

Written for The Stage

While the big boys are wowing us with the World Shakespeare Festival and Globe to Globe, it’s great to see smaller venues doing the Bard proud too. Rae McKen’s boisterous production of As You Like It takes a suitably light touch to one of Shakespeare’s frothiest comedies, drawing plenty of giggles from this jam-packed audience.

What this cast lack in age they more than make up for in youthful energy. If they are unable to fully convince as fathers, it is in the boyish scenes between banished lords or flushed moments of twirling sisterly affection that they excel.

Oliver Mott’s Orlando would make Justin Bieber fans swoon, while Rebecca Loudon marries a handsome girl and bonnie youth together beautifully as Rosalind, although perhaps she throws her arms out in joyous abandon a little too much. Wild At Heart’s Olivia Scott-Taylor makes a lovely Celia, a role where the devil really is in the detail and perfect for an actress straight from the telly.

But it is Fred Gray as the melancholy Jacques who most impresses, bringing some much-needed gravitas and delivering a truly compelling “All the world’s a stage” speech – definitely an actor to watch.

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