Saturday, 22 September 2012

As You Like It

Another works outing for Xorg Inter-Galactic and Associates t'other day, to The Globe Theatre for their 'touring' production of As You Like It by  William Shakespeare.
A very entertaining show indeed, which takes Shakespeare's comedy featuring one of El Bardo's favourite comedic devices, cross-dressing and hidden identity, and makes the play even more confusing by having the actors play more than one character, as well as against gender. The most extreme example being the Duke who besides playing his brother, also played Audrey the shepherdess as a pantomime dame. Most confusing, however, was changing the gender of Jacques to female, particularly as it wasn't clear how that character fitted into the overall scheme of things. No doubt if you are a Shakespearean scholar none of this would be be bothersome.
Any road up, as I usually find with Shakespeare plays, after about fifteen minutes or so I became acclimatised to the language and begin to follow what's going on. The same happened with the multi-character gender-swapping and before long I figured it out. Except for the Jacques character who didn't seem to be part of the plot, but just generally interjected with miserableness. Subsequent research explained that in Shakespeare's time it was common to have a 'melancholy fool' as a contrast to the 'jester' character (named Touchstone in As You Like It). So there you go, M'Lud.
Full marks to the actors who worked their socks of not just as actors but also as musicians and singers. They kept up the pace, and threw in bits of slapstick and occasional taunts to the audience.The production made good use of a minimal set and it is refreshing to see a show which does not rely on special effects, dry ice and flying laser-induced pigs.
The Globe itself is a remarkable achievement - they really have tried to make it as authentic as possible whilst keeping to modern toilet standards and fire precautions.

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