As You Like It (2003): Sphinx, Bridewell Theatre, London
PrAs You Like It (2003)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Danielle King (Rosalind); Jules Melvin (Touchstone); Robert Mountford (Orlando); David Rolston (Celia).
This production ran from 18 - 26 February 2003 at the Bridewell Theatre. Theatre Record notes that it toured although no other venues are currently known.
"...this is the least likeable As You Like It I've seen in a long, long while. It's so unfunny, in fact, that on its London press night...in front of an invited audience, there were fewer laughs all evening than there were people on stage. The chief grounds for complaint are not that Sue Parrish's revival is too feminist in its reading, but that it isn't feminist enough. In the 1990s, we had a definitive all-male account of the play from Cheek By Jowl, and men-only Shakespeare productions have become such a dominant tendency of late that an all-female As You Like It would be singularly refreshing. That's not what we get, though. Parts have been handed out to women willy-nilly: the lovers Rosalind and Orlando are cast along 'straight' gender lines, as are the melancholy Jaques and the banished Duke, but Rosalind's cousin Celia is played by an actor in drag, while the parts of the usurping Duke, Touchstone the clown and the elderly Adam have all been feminised, as 'twere....The costumes are a jumble-sale of influences: rustic colours, severe Victorian-cum-futuristic dresses, a bit of tartan here, some combat trousers there. The plinkerty-plonky instrumentals are all over the place. In short, this is a production that can't see the wood from the trees. The men deliver their lines without a hint of naturalness and the youthful talent of the company's strongest actresses...[Danielle King, Jules Melvin, Jane Cameron] struggles to assert itself." ~ Dominic Cavendish, "It's not funny and it's not clever", Daily Telegraph, 21 February 2003
"There's no contrast between the corrupt court and regenerative countryside and little sense of the magical power of the forest that might explain the outbursts of love and lust and sudden penitent conversions that happen with it....As it is, this production, like its motley mix of combat trousers, trenchcoats and Victorian skirts, is an ill-fitting bundle of ideas still waiting to be cut into shape." ~ Ian Johns, The Times, 25 February 2003
"Other pleasures include a stylish design by Gemma Fripp, Jules Melvin coping womanfully withh Touchstone's pedantic gags - even making them sound funny at times - and fine vocals by Richard Youman, with a gallery of characters either side of the sex divide....Against this distracting diversity, underlined by costumes from grunge to grotesque, the young lovers work harder than usual to establish their central roles. But Danielle King's Rosalind is splendidly winsome, like a thirties Hollywood ingenue and Robert Mountford brings clotting charm to Orlando." ~ John Thaxter, The Stage, 27 Februrary 2003
"The speaking is adequate - which makes the evening bearable. Thank God for the script." ~ John Peter, Sunday Times, 2 March 2003