|Alison Bell, Ashley Zukerman and Trevor Jamieson . Pic Heidrun Lohr
The play’s title says it all. This is the play where, like a master chef, the Bard has mixed together all the ingredients that have great appeal to audiences and comes up with a fun, mirthful night at the theatre. Forget his dark, tragic theatre nights like KING LEAR and HAMLET, this is Shakespeare the great crowd pleaser, the playwright who wanted to bring joy to the throngs of people who flocked to the Globe theatre.
The Bard would have loved Eamon Flack’s current revival upstairs at Belvoir, because it is performed exactly in the spirit in which it was writ! This is a play where Cupid’s arrow fires off in all directions. There’s a wonderful chemistry between a terrific Alison Bell as Rosalind and a charming Ashley Zukerman as Orlando. Veteran performers Billie Brown and Trevor Jamieson are great playing Dukes Frederick and Senior respectively. Brown is also great as the master of melancholy Jacques who delivers ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE- that kind of sums up life in one astonishing speech.
Australian Idol winner Casey Donovan shines in playing multiple roles, including those of Audrey and Hyman, and gets to show off her clear as a bell voice. Charlie Garber is a memorable, very funny Touchstone.
The magical Forest of Arden is vibrantly brought to life in Alistair Watts’s set, Mel Page’s costumes (especially Touchstone’s final costume!), Stefan Gregory’s music score, which adds to Shakespeare’s uplifting ballads, and the acting troupe’s constant clowning, especially when they have a go at playing baying sheep of Arden! It ends up being so much fun that, near the end, Flack even gets in on the act and makes an appearance on stage as a second Jacques de Boys.
An uplifting, exuberant night at the theatre, Eamon Flack’s production of AS YOU LIKE IT opened upstairs at Belvoir Street theatre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills on Wednesday 23rd November and plays nntil Christmas Eve, Saturday 24th December, 2011.