Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

As You Like It

Date 2 June - 25 September 2005 Venue Under the Tents in Vanier Park Reviewer Jane Penistan


 

Director Robert McQueen Composer/Sound Stephen Bulat Choreographer David Garfinkle Fight director Nicholas Harrison Stage and scenery Kevin McAllister Costumes Mara Gottler Lighting Gerald King Production Stage Manager Stephen Courtenay

 


Anthony Holland as Adam; photo David Blue

It was a little chilly under the tents in Vanier Park on the opening night of As You Like It but some nice performances on stage warmed things up.

The newly designed stage is multi-levelled and presents a bow front to the audience. Well placed stylized trees decorated both the area of the court or represented the Forest of Arden. Pleasing lighting changed the time of day, place, and season.

The introduction of a courtly dance placed the early scene firmly in the Duke's domain, as did the stiff, black Elizabethan costumes. The countrymen and banished courtiers appearing later, were attired in less dignified, coloured, coarse clothing, befitting the indigent.

It was a delight to see Anthony Holland on stage again, in the role of Adam. As always, he turned in a stellar performance. Another outstanding member of the cast was Scott Bellis, whose melancholy Jaques brought warmth and sophistication to this enigmatic, sardonic character. David Mackay was a witty Touchstone, clearly a disdainful urbanite in rural surroundings. His self assurance and urbanity entranced the bucolic Audrey (Kerry Sandomirsky).

Karen Rae, Lara Gilchrist; photo, David Blue

Whether it was due to the chill night air or the stiff black dresses, there seemed to be little real affection between Rosalind and Celia, though both Lara Gilchrist and Karen Rae gave otherwise charming performances.

 

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Tobias Slezak as Orlando and Peter Huck as Charles the Wrestler gave a spectacularly accomplished display of gymnastics in the enthralling fight scene. Try as he might, Orlando never seemed to arouse very much reciprocal warmth of feeling from Rosalind.

The reformed Oliver (Todd Thompson) was more successful with Celia. Gerry Mackay was believable as both the usurping Duke Frederick and the banished Duke Senior. Allan Zynik's Corin proved himself a wise and practical rival to Touchstone, while Rebecca Auerbach was the deceived and disdainful Phebe. Her besotted simple lover, Silvius, was David Beazely.

The dancing and choreography at both the opening courtly dance and the joyous, rousing round concluding the wedding celebrations, were both very suitable and well performed. Lara Gilchrist delivered the unusual epilogue with charm and grace.

This production bodes well for a successful summer season for the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.

2005 Jane Penistan

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