Bell Shakespeare – As You Like It
“We that are true lovers run into strange capers” As You Like It, Act II, iv.
If ever you have been a slave to love, fortunate to experience the way in which it can consume your every thought, misfortunate enough to face non responsive love, been rendered speechless due to love, or spoken beyond enough because of its passions… then you will well understand the many levels of love expressed in As You Like It.
The play journeys through a brother’s redemptive love, sisterly sacrificial love, young passionate love, elderly paternal love, the love of simple things, the love of the high life, love unappreciated, love at first sight, love earned, and perhaps most importantly, love proven.
Central characters, Rosalind (Zahra Newman) and Orlando (Charlie Garber), are in love. Both however are banished, unaware of the other’s banishment, into the garden of Arden. For the purpose of safety Rosalind guises herself as a man, Ganymede, and is accompanied by Celia (Kelly Paterniti) her cousin. Upon meeting with Orlando once again, though this time as a boy, Rosalind explores how true Orlando’s love for her is.
Simultaneously, other forms of love are discovered within the forest. Silvius (George Banders) displays grovelling yet resilient love for Phebe (Emily Eskell), who resents and torments his advances. Touchstone (Gareth Davies) speaks of a non devotional love, more erotic rather than love’s true form. He is counselled by Jaques (John Bell) about the requirements of actual love.
Whilst some are daunted by the idea of viewing Shakespearean works, Bell Shakespeare communicate this tale with such clarity, without depending on the need to overtly modernise, in order that audiences will follow the every thought of each character. Use of minimal props, a relaxed pace, and an intimate setting all work together to communicate this classic.
Newman shows her ability to portray a vast array of emotions from heartbreak to overjoyed, melancholy to jovial, and vicious to sweet. Likewise Garber transforms from bitter and angered to smitten and shy… and back again… several times.
Overall, this is a talented line-up of actors, presenting one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, in a beautiful setting.
As You Like It is being presented by Bell Shakespeare at the Sydney Opera House, Playhouse, until 28th March.