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Posts Tagged ‘michelle terry’

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is somewhere that I have wanted to visit for a long time, and I was very fortunate that my first (but certainly not my last) visit there was to see this wonderful production of one of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies.

Briefly, the story of As You Like It centres on Rosalind, the daughter of a Duke who has been banished from his own court by his brother. Rosalind has been allowed to stay at the court because the new Duke’s daughter Celia (Rosalind’s cousin) and she are great friends, but the new Duke worries that Rosalind might commit treason and banishes her from the court too, but not before Rosalind has met and instantly fallen for Orlando, a young man who has been denied his birthright by his older brother. Rosalind and Celia run away to the Forest of Arden, with Rosalind disguised as a man named Ganymede, and Celia disguised as a servant girl named Aliena. There, Rosalind again meets Orlando, who is pining for her, but doesn’t realise that his new friend is in fact the girl he fell in love with at the court.

Meanwhile, young shepherd Silvius is in love with shepherdess Phebe, but she in turn has fallen for a young man named Ganymede (!) And there are also love problems for Touchstone, the court jester who has accompanied Rosalind and Celia on their adventure. I don’t think it’s giving anything away to say that it all gets sorted out in the end, but there is  much confusion and – for the audience – much hilarity along the way.

As You Like It is one of my favourite comedies, and this production was simply superb. Michelle Terry was absolutely wonderful as Rosalind – captivating and funny, and frankly adorable. I also loved Simon Harrison as Orlando, and was not the only female in the audience to share in Rosalind’s delight when he took his shirt off near the beginning of the play! James Garnon, who will be familiar to many who have been to the Globe before (or who, like me, have watched televised performances from the Globe) played Jacques, the melancholy, cynical Lord, who lives with the banished Duke and his men in the forest. This character can occasionally seem surplus to requirements (apart from his famous All the World’s A Stage speech, and his Seven Ages of Man speech), but in the capable hands of Garnon, Jacques was not only enjoyable, but actually essential to the play. Special mention also to Ellie Piercey as Celia – who has ALWAYS been one of my favourite characters in this play – and Daniel Crossley as Touchstone. (Touchstone is another very divisive character, with many people finding him annoying or pointless; however, in this production, he was lovable, funny and – unexpectedly – a marvellous tap dancer!)

To say that the play was funny would be a huge understatement. It was actually hilarious, largely due to the gutsy and uninhibited performance of Michelle Terry, and the whole audience seemed very appreciative of the entire, excellent cast.

To sum up – a wonderful production, in a beautiful setting. If you get chance to see this play, take it – you won’t regret it!

(Click here for more information about Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, or this production.)

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This Shakespeare comedy has been updated in this production by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and is set in 1914, which allows the show to pay respects to the hundred year anniversary of World War I.  The story revolves around the King of Navarre (Sam Alexander) and his three companions Berowne, Longaville and Dumaine (respectively, Edward Bennett, William Belchambers and Tunji Kasim), who all agree to swear off the company of women for three years, in order to concentrate on study and fasting.  However, their plans go awry upon the arrival of the Princess of France (Leah Whittaker) and her three companions, Rosaline, Maria and Katherine (respectively Michelle Terry, Frances McNamee and Flora Spencer-Longhurst).  A battle of the sexes ensues, with the play eventually ending in a poignant scene, which gives cause for reflection.  There is also a subplot featuring the visiting Don Armado (John Hodgkinson), a Spanish visitor, who falls for a local lady named Jaquenetta (Emma Manton).

I really loved this production.  Apart from the fitting and respectful ending (where – spoiler alert – the Princess is informed that her father has died, and she and her ladies in waiting inform their suitors that they must wait a year before their courtships can continue, and which ends up with the four men appearing in World War I uniforms, about to go off and fight in the war), there was so much humour and verbal sparring, with several laugh-out-loud scenes that had the audience in fits of giggles.  The King and his friends were so well portrayed, and the Princess and her companions perfectly matched to them.  (I love how Shakespeare wrote so many strong and intelligent female characters).

The stage was beautifully and cleverly designed and the costumes were gorgeous (I had serious gown envy during the final part of the play!)

Love’s Labour’s Lost is presented as one part of a diptych, together with Much Ado About Nothing (retitled here as Love’s Labour’s Won, which was the name of a lost Shakespeare play – possibly Much Ado).  I have tickets to see Love’s Labour’s Won next year, and I am really looking forward to seeing it.  (In that play, the four main male characters are returning from World War I.)  Edward Bennett plays Benedick, opposite Michelle Terry’s Beatrice, and having seen the chemistry between them in this production, it promises to be a great show.

Overall, an excellent evening of comedy, with excellent acting and staging throughout.  Thoroughly recommended.

(For more information about this production, please click here.)

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