As You Like It
June 2019. For the second year running, YAOW Theatre presented an open air Shakespeare production, As You Like It, at St Leonard's Hill, Windsor.
POSTER AND PROGRAMME
Photos by Alan Bostock
Review of YAOW Theatre’s ‘As You Like It’ written by Ayesha Gamiet
With its themes of love in its varying and complex manifestations, its examination of patriarchal societies, and exploration into traditional concepts of gender, Shakespeare’s 'As You Like It' is as relevant to modern 21st Century audiences as it was to Elizabethan England. As I sit down to write this review, it strikes me that it is difficult to imagine a more fitting cast to perform one of Shakespeare’s most contemporary and pioneering plays. YAOW Theatre succeeded in breathing a spirit of modernity into this 400-year-old comedic drama. In doing so, they invited us to take a step back and reflect upon the relationships, hegemonies, and prejudices that preoccupy us all, on both a personal and global level.
Set between the court of Duke Frederick, and the Forest of Arden, St Leonard’s Hill with its majestic ruins and enchanting forest provided the perfect backdrop to the play. I was impressed by the ease and confidence with which the cast handled the many layered and subtle roles in this rich and dynamic production. The talented Michael Workman gave a nuanced performance as lovestruck Orlando, while Skevy Stylia and Finella Waddilove effortlessly transitioned between Rosalind and “Ganymede” / Celia and “Aliena". It was a pleasing and unexpected touch to see and hear Ali Shinall, a woman, assume the role of Jaques to perform Shakespeare’s famous “All the world’s a stage” speech. Yet another reminder of just how sensitively and intelligently this talented theatre group engaged and challenged their audience.
I am sure Shakespeare himself would have approved!