As You Like It

Wed 5th – Sat 8th October 2016

reviews

Cameron Wallis

at 23:55 on 5th Oct 2016

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The CAST 2016 production of As You Like It is exactly the way I like it. Witty. Slick. Inspired. This production brings some of Cambridge’s finest theatrical talent together on one stage.

Technically, the production is superb. The staging, by director Marthe de Ferrer, is simple but effective, needing only the tying of some ribbons to transport us from the Duke's court to the Forest of Ardenne. Likewise, the lighting is used to tasteful effect; without stealing the show, it heightens the humour and intensifies the action. For example, the green lighting, alongside some sinister cello-playing, really brings Oliver’s story to life. As does the red lighting in the hilarious comic wrestling scene.

A particular highlight of the show has to be its music. Directed by Jamie Fenton and brought to life by some truly beautiful singing voices, not to mention Adam Mirsky’s folky guitar playing, when this cast breaks out into song it is truly delightful. Megan Gilbert’s angelic voice, especially, raises more than a few goosebumps in the ADC.

The play is exceptionally well-casted, with five of the nine cast members doubling or even tripling up parts. The indefatigable energy of Ryan Monk and Adam Mirsky, who play the clownish characters of Touchstone, Adam and Silvius, brings to the play much of its merry humour. There is one particularly hilarious scene that sees these two actors aggressively shedding their clothing to reveal increasingly ridiculous tattoos. In another the whole cast walks upon the stage pretending to be goats. The cast never seems to take themselves too seriously, and this adds to this play a wonderfully light touch.

Joe Pitts makes a fabulously infatuated Orlando. His wide blue-eyes and tenor voice help him in his portrayal of a young man innocent in love. Meanwhile, Orlando’s soulmate, Rosalind, is played by the talented actress Amy Malone, who is able to transition seamlessly between her sassy male-persona, Ganymede, and her interior character of a hopelessly-in-love female.

However, the go-to character for sass is Celia, who refuses to take any nonsense, even as Aliena. Brought to life by Alice Carlill, she is able to stand humorously over the other characters to see the ridiculousness in much of this play.

Ben Walsh is a wonderful casting for both dukes, literally standing a good head above the other characters. He is able to be both imposing, as Duke Frederick in his long trench coat, and loveably optimistic, in his Burger King crown as Duke Ferdinand. Alasdair McNab also shows his dexterity as an actor, in his character of Oliver, who progresses from evil brother to shepherd lover over the course of the play, as well as by playing Corin - who, with Adam Mirsky, forms a brilliant comic duo.

Yet, if one star performance had to be picked out from this array of talent, it would be Lily Lindon in her role of Jacques. The fluidity with which Lindon is able to deliver the speeches of one of Shakespeare’s most fascinating characters is truly impressive, particularly when this is coupled with the fact that she has a second role as love-mocker turned lover, Phoebe.

Hence, the Director and Assistant Director, Marthe de Ferrer and Hannah Sands, as well as the rest of the crew must be highly commended for a truly spectacular performance. It is as close to perfect as any ADC production I have ever seen. The theatre was, somehow, not completely sold out. This is a crying shame when this may be one of the best pieces of drama on all year. I urge anyone and everyone to buy tickets to see this up-to-date, fresh-as-a-daisy rendition of one of Shakespeare’s earliest comedies.

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