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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

As You Like It at The Roundhouse

After the solemn Julius Caesar last week I was glad to see a Shakespearian comedy at the Roundhouse, the chirpy ‘As You like It’. It is a witty play that examines different kinds of love.

The strong cast seem entirely comfortable in each other’s company, and have a buzzing chemistry as an ensemble. Interactions are acute and full of delicate nuances bringing the script to life. The set is minimal, especially in the first half; a startling bright white backdrop that makes the characters' humorous expressions jump out. After the interval the auditorium, and indeed the whole building is transformed into the yearning lover Orlando’s forest, echoing with desperate pleas for fair Rosalind to find him. Visually this is very effective, and imaginatively romantic.

Johjo O’Neill is dashing as the hopeful young paramour, Orlando, he reminded me of a young Bob Dylan, with scruffy brown locks, and a mischievous glint in his eye. As you enter the theatre he stands (in character), singing to passers by, seemingly unaware of all else around him, it is a nice touch. The music within the performance is sublime, particularly from Forbes Masson as Jaques, a mad soul who wanders aimlessly with a guitar, and looks remarkably like Bill Bailey. He sings with an astoundingly beautiful falsetto voice, and I couldn’t help thinking I would like to have his melancholic refrains on my ipod. The giggling cousins are played by Mariah Gale as Celia and Katy Stephens as Rosalind. There are some charming scenes together, as they spin round each other and fall about laughing. I particularly enjoyed Gale’s performance, she is dreamy and yet speaks with great elegance.

The play is long, especially for a comedy, and began to drag towards the end... this though is perhaps the fault of writer not director, if I am allowed to criticise Shakespeare(?). Eventually all wrongs are righted, and all rejoice, rather too enthusiastically I thought: they all looked a bit silly. Thankfully the rest of the show is rather more convincing and enjoyable.

As You Like It continues until 5 February 2011, book tickets here.


  1. A very interesting blog!!! Compliments!!!
    Kisses from Italy!!! :*

  2. ohhh great blog you have here milly!

    thank you for your sweet comments on my blog, your such a darling!

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