As You Like It (Canberra)

By Revelly Robinson

Zahra Newman cements her status as one of the country’s most entertaining stage actors.

Peter Evans’ interpretation of As You Like It is a light hearted romp into the magical forest of Arden. The actors give spirited performances in this fun Shakespeare play, but nonetheless there is something lacking in the cohesiveness of the piece. The characters drift dissonantly from scene to scene with little integration of their roles with each other. This incongruity mirrors the disparate narrative which almost seems to comprise of individual skits broken up by comedic and musical interludes.

One of Shakespeare’s iconic comedies, As You Like It contains the infallibly humorous elements of assumed identities and hapless romantics that make the bard’s plays so accessible. When the filial Rosalind is banished by her uncle, Duke Frederick, she assumes the identity of a man, Ganymede, to seek out her father in the forest of Arden. Accompanied by her cousin, Celia, posing as Ganymede’s sister Aliena, the protagonist uses her newfound identity to taunt and play havoc with the characters she meets along the way. Despite falling desperately in love with Orlando before leaving the court, upon encountering the melancholy Orlando in the forest, Rosalind under the guise of Ganymede takes the opportunity to taunt him into revealing the depth of his feelings for her.

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