The music, folky and rustic was the backbone of the play, and was much like the play itself, pitch perfect, warm, and a crossing through time. As ever, the work on the stage was wonderful, the evening and the garden behind turning a sparse stage into a well made wood, the perfect stage for our characters to play on.
Rosalind was performed well, but shone as Ganymede, who it was obvious the actress relished playing, and did so with perfect comedic timing and a real chemistry with Orlando, who stole the audience in his wrestling scene.
Though the actresses in the parts were wonderful, there was little point turning the Duke’s into Duchesses, especially after the deliciously evil one disappeared from the play promptly and had nothing much to do.
Celia was played warmly and with wit, Pheobe and her lovelorn puppy were brilliant comically, and Touchstone was a very well-played fool, but nothing particularly new was brought to the play’s most famous phrase.
The folk songs gave a sense of real community, both to the fictional Forrest and to the audience, and, as said before, were probably the best and most memorable element of the play, with the wonderful happy ending a joy to behold for even the most cynical.
All in all, this was a play with a warm heart and brilliant players, and Sophia Gardens made the Forest of Arden come alive.
As You Like it runs until the 1st August