As You Like It (1992): Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Shakespeare Theatre
PrAs You Like It (1992)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Samantha Bond (Rosalind); Peter de Jersey (Orlando); Phyllida Hancock (Celia); Anthony O'Donnell (Touchstone); Michael Siberry (Jaques).
The first performance of this production took place on 14 April 1992.
"[The] production opens in the kind of court that Velazquez painted, trying to keep his brush from trembling as he dabbed away at the ruffs beneath those sour, yellowish faces. The towering walls are made of marble and as black as the props, the costumes, and, indeed, everything down to the eye-patch grimly sported by one regal crone. The courtiers parade and posture, looking as if they needed only an auto de fe to make their day. Everybody has a lacquered hair-do, imperial-Japanese in style, except Andrew Jarvis's Duke Frederick, who is bald, mean, and paranoid to the point of psychosis. Nor is there much of a world elsewhere. Seldom have I seen an Orlando more distraught at his maltreatment by his brother Oliver than Peter de Jersey, or an Oliver who radiated more Iago-like hate-waves at Orlando than Adrian Lukis....Like almost everything else in Thacker's production, this is beautifully staged and finely acted. Indeed, the closing moments of the first half, with an exhausted Orlando gratefully embracing Jeffery Dench's Duke Senior, is more moving than it could possibly have been in a less dark production." ~ Benedict Nightingale, "Subdued light on love's follies", The Times, 24 April 1992
"Arden, in contrast, is not the denuded playground of recent productions but a forest of mossy banks and standing pools in which bare winter gives place to well-apparrelled spring....Bond has the right intensity of feeling but, as yet, she seems to be operating in an emotional vacuum. Partly this is because Peter de Jersey is a somewhat under-directed Orlando. Surely at some point he should become a little disturbed by this strenuous counterfeit wooing. Surely when Rosalind reappears in female guise he should react as if it were more than a quick costume change: in the Cheek by Jowl version Orlando was unbearably mortified at the trick that had been played on him. This lack of emotional detail spreads through the production" ~ Michael Billington, "As You Like It", The Guardian, 24 April 1992
"Those who like their Shakespeare tricked out and tarted up, who feel that every production should cast a radical new light on his plays, will be disappointed. This is a traditional staging, sumptuously designed and costumed, with not a gimmick in sight. But Thacker seems to go right to the heart of this golden comedy. Every scene, and almost every performance, has great freshness and vitality. You get the reassuring and all too rare feeling that you are seeing the play steadily and seeing it whole...Samantha Bond is a delight as Rosalind. In her disguise as Ganymede she really does look like an adolescent boy, and for once you can understand why Orlando (a likeable performance from Peter de Jersey) fails to recognize her. The wooing scenes have exactly the right mixture of playfulness and sudden glimpses of deep feeling, and Miss Bond touchingly charts the growing confidence and emotional maturity Rosalind finds through her liberating disguise." ~ Charles Spencer, "Darkness into light", Daily Telegraph, 24 April 1992