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Review- As You Like It: a night full of mirth, beauty, and goats dancing

By Nahima Abraham

As You Like It

Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Damien Ryan

Presented by Queensland Theatre

Merivale Street

West End

Season ends May 13. Duration 3 hours with interval

Queensland Theatre has done it again: Bringing quality theatre to the Bille Brown Studio in a night full of mirth, beauty, and goats dancing to Cotton Eye Joe.

As You Like It demonstrated the very best aspects of Queensland Theatre and then some. The opening night saw a stellar cast, brilliant and clever set design, and easy to digest Shakespeare, all accompanied by clever and original music to boot. Sounds ideal? Good! It truly was the best way to spend the night.

The running time marries traditional Shakespeare, in that the play is a hard slog for both actors and audience. However, you don’t go to see Shakespeare and expect a 1-hour discourse. You go for the experience and, if done well, time simply melts away into long and pleasurable hours. This was most certainly the case with Queensland Theatre’s latest offering. The energy in the room was high, the wit poured like wedding wine, flowing and seemingly without end.

There were some liberties with the interpretation of the work, and these anachronisms made the As You Like It experience more interesting than most. To quote Silence of the Lambs alongside the Bard was new and refreshing indeed. Each actor took on mantles of diverse roles, but the standouts were QT debutants Hannah Raven, Emma Wright, and Courtney Cavallaro as a hapless trio of runaway women. Raven whose Fool, Touchstone, had the audience in stitches most of the time and displayed a smart and subtle wit that is difficult to master. Wright as Rosalind portrayed the character with a beauty and grace that greatly complimented this style of theatre.

Finally, Cavallaro was a brilliant Celia, bringing ardour and a cunning to the role that brought to the spectacle and the hapless trio a sense of wholesomeness. Despite these stand outs, the cast as a whole stood strong and bright in the firmament of a work perhaps not quite as known as a Midsummer Night’s Dream, nor as beloved as Twelfth Night. However, there were many instances of beauty that rippled throughout like so many butterflies in a field of flowers.

If you’re prepared for a late-night sojourn to the Theatre, look no further than Queensland Theatre and their new production of As You Like It.


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