This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour saw As You Like It at the invite of The RSC.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This is review is based on a chilled matinee performance with captioning.
Review: As You Like It at The RSC
Directed by Omar Elerian
Rosalind (Geraldine James) really doesn’t think Orlando (Malcolm Sinclair), the man she likes, is THAT interested in her, so she puts on men’s clothes and covers her hair in a hat to challenge him. He does not appear to see through the disguise.
We are watching a group return to the stage to bring a new version of their old production of As You Like It to the stage. That’s what we are told early on anyway.
At first, I thought the idea of having a story within a story for As You Like It would be something I’d seen before. From The Princess Bride or The Play That Goes Wrong, to any number of narrated works where the cast members seemingly break character. A reminder that it is a play we are seeing and they know they are actors. The audience is in on the joke here and it serves to add layers to the point it makes. It also makes us consider how we discriminate against older people just for being older.
I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of seeing this “rehearsal room” on the main stage at The RSC. There are moments where actors are called upon at a moment’s notice to play roles which helps this story move along at a fair pace.
Geraldine James and Malcolm Sinclair are both wonderful and their chemistry is charming to see. Maureen Beattie is great as Celia the cousin of Rosalind and both are sneaky and cheeky.
The language is playful and has its own rhythms to it and it is easy just to sit and listen to the dialogue without having to concern yourself with the story. Or you can watch carefully to see the details in the performance. There are certainly some powerful moments in the second half.
As this was a chilled performance there were more lights on than normal but annoyingly there were plenty of people who hadn’t bothered to silence their phones. And hearing the same ringtone several times is just inconsiderate.
The staff are friendly and welcoming for somewhere that is “posh”. And it’s great to see theatre being introduced to new audiences in this way.
Charmingly presented, As You Like It is at The RSC’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre until 5th August 2023. Book tickets here: rsc.org.uk/as-you-like-it.