As You Like It. Written by William Shakespeare. Directed by Jane Miles - July 2014
I have enjoyed for some time visiting The Globe Theatre in London and watching various plays of Shakepeare in its glorious setting. The whole experience is always fun. The tickets are a tad more than they would have been at the original Globe – when they were one penny to stand in front of the stage by the poorer members of the audience called the groundlings, while richer patrons would pay half a crown for seats in the covered galleries. For extra comfort another penny would secure a cushion to sit on relieving the discomfort of the wooden benches. A cushion can still be hired today – highly recommended (!) and will now cost you the sum of £4.00.
Shakespeare’s audience would have been composed of tanners, butchers, iron-workers, millers, seamen from the ships docked in the Thames, glovers, servants, shopkeepers, wig-makers, bakers, and countless other tradesmen and their families. Today our audience is you in the glorious setting of Victoria Hall and we have to charge you more than one penny or half a crown!
Shakespeare’s audience was far more boisterous than patrons of theatre are today. They were loud and hot-tempered and just as interested in the happenings off stage as on. They would shove and heave, flirt, wink, swear and steal. I trust that your behaviour may be more refined tonight but nevertheless I hope you enjoy our production of As You Like It and respond in the way you seem fit! I hope to have brought Shakespeare to the stage tonight that is accessible and fun.
As You Like It is obsessed with the nature of love and desire. In the play, Shakespeare demonstrates over and over again how love can make people do some pretty risky and foolish things. People can be courtly and people can be pretty ridiculous so enjoy the foolish behaviour you are about to see. But foolishness and folly are what makes us human and you may recognise yourself!
But as the title of the play insists ……. make of it what you will, it is ………….As YOU Like It!!
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool” (Act5, Sc8).
Review: Harlow Star 13th July 2014
IT’S never an easy feat to perform something that has been done so many times in so many different ways - it’s even harder when it is Shakespeare.
But Harlow Theatre Company’s As You Like It was a fantastic performance that showcased the very best of the town’s talent.
The bard is renowned for his use of language and director Jane Miles remained true to the playwright’s writing. Praise must go to all 13 cast members who evoked emotion and passion into their words, which is exactly what you want when watching Shakespeare.
As You Like It was a vivid reminder of why the pastoral comedy is so popular and was the reinforces why Harlow Theatre Company is considered a jewel in town’s arts crown.
Joe Bishop as the lovestruck Orlando was confident and self-assured in his performance and was the perfect lead. Orlando’s beloved, the fair Rosalind, was played by the wonderful Pamela Self-Pierson who really shone when being banished by her uncle the Duke - striking the perfect balance between fear and incredulous anger.
Touchstone was played by the talented Paul Johnson, a fantastic actor who gave the character the right amount of pompous energy and exuberant wit to keep audiences completely enthralled whenever he was on stage.
Special mention must also be given to Mitch Rous as Jacques. He took on the famous ‘All the world’s a stage...’ soliloquy and it was absolutely mesmerising. It was one of the stand out moments of the entire peformance.
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