As You Like It
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Adam Nichols
8th - 17th July 2004
Trestle Arts Base, St Albans
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Don't ask her why she needs to be so free.
She'll tell you it's the only way to be.
Ruby Tuesday, Rolling Stones
Shakespeare’s tale of fraternal intrigue and tangled romance, exploring cross dressing, sexual politics and relations between the country and the city, is also one of his best loved and funniest comedies. This inventive interpretation, set in the swinging sixties, took a sideways look at the summer of love.
With a wrestling match, a VW Beetle and a live band playing a selction of classic sixties hits, As You Like It was an entertaining and engaging production.
What's Not To Like?
15th July 2004
By any Measure for Measure, new drama group OVO are going from strength to strength.
Their current production of As You Like It is everything which Shakespeare should be - original, witty and compelling.
It is being performed as part of the St Albans Festival at Trestle Arts Base - and the only regret is that it is not available to a larger audience.
OVO comprise some of the brightest talents on the local theatre scene and they always dare to be different.
As You Like It is no exception. It is set in the flower power era of the sixties which suits the play's theme of androgyny perfectly and allows liberties to be taken with the original script which only add to the calibre of the production.
Effectively they have modernised the play but retained the essential Shakespearean qualities - and the result is a striking combination.
The cast is strong and overall, very impressive. Andrew Margerison is very good as Orlando while newcomer Dipika Guha as Rosalind is extremely impressive, both as the lovelorn girl and the pretty youth Ganymede.
However, Howard Branch as the melancholy Jacques takes the acting honours - his "All the World's a Stage" speech was mesmerising and his trained singing voice a pleasure to listen to.
The production is high on comedy and two scenes stand out - the wrestling match involving Orlando and the considerably larger and more powerful Charles, played by Paul de Burton, and the duet between Touchstone and Audrey.
The latter was an absolute hoot as Beth Hore's over-the-top Audrey and Richard Smith's spiffy Touchstone serenaded each other to I've Got You Babe.
The other excellent comic portrayal was Sue Dyson's interpretation of a shepherd. Every nuance and emphasis on a word was perfectly timed.
Adam Nichols, one of the founders of the OVO, directs the production and also takes the role of Oliver.
He is to be praised for grooming his primarily young and talented company into one of the best around.
Orlando - Andrew Margerison
Alice - Sara Davis
Oliver - Adam Nichols
Charles - Paul Burton
Celia - Laura Harding
Rosalind - Dipika Guha
Touchstone - Richard Smith
Le Beau - Stuart Goaman
Frederick - David Berryman
The Duchess - Helen Huson
Amiens - Dee Dillistone
Margaret - Jane Fisher
Jaques - Howard Branch
Corinne - Sue Dyson
Silvius - Edmund White
Phoebe - Claire McMeel
Audrey - Beth Hore
Sir Oliver Martext - Stuart Goaman
William - Court Harding
© OVO 2004