As You Like It, Shakespeare's Globe, London. July 2015.
Unusually for Mr Norfolkbookworm and I we were at an evening performance for this and the first thing we noticed was the huge queue of people waiting for returns. We're used to seeing long lines for those wanting to be a Groundling but never for seats. I wonder if this production is more popular than others we've seen or if this is normal for evening performances.
For a play that has no real plot, that is just a sequence of events loosely tied together, I enjoyed this a lot. The characters that were written humorously in the original (Touchstone, Audrey and Jaques) were not overblown and the Rosalind/Ganymede and Celia/Aliena beefed up their roles to match the humour which I found balanced the play very well. The male love interests in contrast did seem a little insipid and interchangeable - this was certainly an adaptation played to a comic and feminist slant.
I wonder if the director of the play also realised just how slight it is plot wise as the deus ex machina towards the end was certainly played up to be utterly ridiculous, which worked with the other staging decisions of the play.
The more Shakespeare plays I see the more I realise that the 'comedies' are not my favourite. There was nothing wrong with this one in terms of acting etc. but the slight plot made me long for some intrigue and seriousness.
After studying Shakespeare in depth I was also more bothered by the staging and extensive use of the Groundling area. This would just not have happened at the time of the original Globe - the costumes were just too expensive to risk off of the stage, and although giving great opportunities for entrances and exits too much of the action is invisible from the Upper Gallery. A minor criticism as all of the actors projected well and I didn't miss a line of dialogue. I remain unsure about the bicycle and the shopping trolley however.
A big shout out has to go to the Steward who was working the Upper Gallery, Mr Norfolkbookworm asked him an idle question about an instrument being played on the stage in the interval and although he didn't know the answer the steward (no name badge so I can't be more specific) went and found out for us and slipped the name to us during the second act.