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This stage production of the romantic comedy was performed at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, in 2009, and was first televised in 2010.  I watched the televised version, although I would have loved to have been in the actual audience at the theatre.

The story revolves around a young man called Orlando, who falls for Rosalind, daughter of the former Duke of Arden, who has been usurped by his own brother.  The former Duke has gone to live in the forest of Arden with some of his followers.  Rosalind was kept at the court of the new Duke, due to her friendship with her cousin Cecilia (daughter of the new Duke).  However, when Rosalind is exiled from the court, Cecilia decides to go with her, and together with Touchstone, the court fool – who they take along for entertainment purposes – the two women head off into the forest, with Rosalind disguised as a man named Gannymede, and Cecilia disguised as a poor lady named Aliena.  When Rosalind meets Orlando, he does not see through her disguise, and she agrees to train him to woo Rosalind properly.

There are other stories contained within the play – other romances, and a great deal of comedy – but the story of Rosalind and Orlando is the main plot.

This particular production, directed superbly by Thea Sharrock, was a delight from beginning to end.  It was filled with sparkling wit and humour, and all of the players were fantastic, although I would make special mention of Dominic Rowan as Touchstone – he had some of the best lines (and some of the best moves!) and he didn’t waste them.  Laura Rogers was also a stand-out as Cecilia, who for the most part was a supporting character to Rosalind.  Rosalind herself was played with verve and wit by Naomi Frederick, and the scenes with her and Jack Laskey as Orlando, were wonderful.

I always think that Shakespeare’s comedies should leave you feeling great, and with a smile on your face, and this one certainly did that.  I have not mentioned everyone who impressed, because to do so would mean naming the entire cast!  Suffice to say that not one of them disappointed.  The music was also wonderful, and the ending was filled with energy and joy.

Without hesitation, I would recommend this production to anybody.

Year of production: 2009 (first televised in 2010)

Director: Thea Sharrock

Writer: William Shakespeare (play)

Main cast: Philip Bird, Gareth Bennett-Ryan, Sophie Duval, Naomi Frederick, Brendan Hughes, Jack Laskey, Tim McMullan, Jamie Parker, Laura Rogers, Dominic Rowan

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Click here for my review of the 2006 film adaptation.

Click here for my review of As You Like It at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in May 2013

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