As You Like It

Blue Duck Theatre Company are passionate about reviving classic theatre and exploring new writing, and their take on Shakespeare’s classic comedy, As You Like It, certainly breathes a fresh feel to the farcical tale.

The chaotic journey of mistaken identity, wrestling matches and the course of true love, is set within the back drop of the Forest of Arden. A somewhat busy location, it would seem, as we see a handful of characters who are mostly at cross purposes throughout the story.

The protagonists Rosalind and Orlando (Georgina Housby, who also produces and Sam Dinnage, who also directs) are played strongly with the emphasis on comical facial expressions and tongue in cheek humour.

Polly Dennett as Celia is a likeable addition to the story telling and moves the scenes along nicely, without overshadowing the other characters. John Christopher Benson as Touchstone plays the wit just right and is a sturdy and confident player.

Khari Moore as Charles is naturally commanding on stage, however he is not used as much as we would have liked to have seen, a talent sure to go far in the future.

Played in the small space of the Hexagon Theatre at the MAC, the direction used the many exits and entrances well and kept the audience engaged when moving from scene to scene. There were some elements that did seem to be played for laughs rather than inclusive of the plot and more could have been incorporated in to these.

Our only real criticism would be that the company itself is quite young, with all the actors around the same age, and whilst this didn’t majorly detract from the acting, it would have been nice to see older actors playing the older roles instead of a caricature of an aged character. It would have rounded things off a little neater in our opinion.

All in all, this was a nice entertaining piece suitable for all the family and a great introduction to Shakespeare and classical theatre.

This show was reviewed on the 1st June 2024 at the MAC, Birmingham.  For more info on Blue Duck Theatre Company visit their Instagram profile: Blue Duck Theatre Company (@blueducktheatrecompany) • Instagram photos and videos

Review written by Rachel Louise Martin


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