As You Like It (2009): Dash Arts, Curve Theatre, Leicester
PrAs You Like It (2009)
CAST INCLUDED: Justin Avoth (Jaques); Natalie Dew (Celia); Tracy Ifeachor (Rosalind); Kevork Malikyan (Touchstone); David Ononokpono (Orlando).
This production ran from 3 - 28 March 2009. Production information from Theatre Record; may be incomplete.
"In Tim Supple's first Shakespeare since his acclaimed Indian Dream, Rosalind and Celia are a couple of precious jewels who barely show their faces. When they unwind their sparkling saris, they throw off duty and parental expectation and plunge into the Forest of Arden, where they discover not just love but their true, independent selves. Supple's production is beautifully designed by Anna Fleischle and threaded with Ashwin Srinivasan and Nitin Sawhney's tapestry of music and sound, which draws on both English folk and something more eerie and exotic. The show explores the dislocation of exile and the making of a new world. This Arden is no pretty forest of tradition, but a cold English desert, where the wind howls, the huntsmen are bloodied and Duke Frederick practises waterboarding. But love changes everything: when the past is jettisoned, the sky is suddenly bluer, the sunsets rosier and the trees blossom with love letters instead of leaves." ~ Lyn Gardner, Guardian, 5 March 2009.
"...this As You Like It seeks to make a similar point about nationality to Richard Bean's England People Very Nice, namely that the English are a richly hybrid people, and so Shakespeare's essence-of-England Arden can sustain (for instance) a finale that features several diverse marriage rites. Unfortunately, this is a point I gleaned frome reading around the production...rather than from impressions gained in performance. [No mention of Rosalind or Orlando]." ~ Ian Shuttleworth, "As You Like It", Financial Times, 5 March 2009
"...a modern dress As You Like It that boasts performers whose origins vary from Gambia to Armenia, Kenya to Yemen to Britain. But now everybody speaks the lines as Shakespeare wrote them, though not always with the clarity you would hope to hear from the RSC or the Globe. But that's not the problem with the hero and heroine. At first David Ononokpono's Orlando is almost more ferociously embittered than he should be - no wonder his neglectful brother hires a hitman in the form of a killer-wrestler - but later he's pretty much what's wanted, a boy who relishes the erotic rings the disguised Rosalind runs around him. And Tracy Ifeachor is a delight as Rosalind: quick, bright, nimble, wayward, mischievous. You don't quite feel she's 'fathom deep' in love, but that's hard to achieve in a play where she, like half the cast, only needs to glance at a member of the opposite sex to become erotically obsessed." ~ Benedict Nightingale, The Times, 5 March 2009
"Tracy Ifeachor leads her devoted Orlando perhaps too merry a dance as the tomboy Rosalind pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman. She might have played more on his nervous discomfort at wooing a lad in the guise of a lass. However, David Ononokpono's Orlando is every bit as wide-eyed as his impetuous character needs to be. He takes on prize fighters and scheming girlies with an artless innocence that typifies the overall show." ~ Patrick Marmion, Daily Mail, 6 March 2009
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