What’s it all about?
This is Shakespeare’s classic pastoral comedy about love and a woman who rules the roost (or should that be flock?). Don’t worry, all will become clear…
Who’s in it?
Rosalie Craig brings heaps of charm and grace to the Olivier stage as the Bard’s quick-witted heroine Rosalind. Transforming from long-haired beauty to male matchmaker and back again, her performance is beautifully executed. Even her portrayal of a sheep is exemplary.
She is joined by Patsy Ferran, who brings facial expressions a plenty and buckets of lovability to the role of Rosalind’s cousin Celia.
There’s also Paul Chahidi, an actor who just keeps on growing in our estimations here at Official London Theatre. His array of exaggerated looks, not to mention dance moves, is quite something to behold (and cherish). Just wait for the moment, shortly after the interval, when the audience begins to titter merely at the sight of his comic Jaques.
What should I look out for?
Leon Annor’s Spandex-adorned, intimidating Charles, particularly if you’re Orlando and about to face him in a wrestling match.
Lizzie Clachan’s striking design of the Forest of Arden. While it may look a little like a scene from Matilda The Musical gone wrong, it is also beautifully spectacular, with twisting tangled towers of chairs and tables suspended above the stage.
The moment the stage is filled with a flock of sheep and, in particular, Chahidi’s masticating… Words just do not do it justice.
In a nutshell?
Stunning scenery, perfectly pitched performances and sheep; Rosalie Craig leads a flawless flock in Polly Findlay’s playful take on the Shakespearean classic.
Who was in the press night crowd?
We were sitting a few rows behind a chortling Zoë Wanamaker.
What’s being said on Twitter?
— peter caulfield (@petercaulfield) November 4, 2015
— Jack Hurst (@jackhurst85) November 4, 2015
Will I like it?
There are many things to love about Findlay’s well-judged production. From baaing Olivier Award nominees to its beautiful atmospheric score, there are elements of both sublime comedy and striking artistry. And as for the final scene, if the production didn’t have so much else to offer it would be worth watching just for that.