January 28, 2017
Special to The Alexandria Times
This most irreverent version of Shakespeare’s As You Like It comes at a time when we could all use a little levity. But it’s not just the humor that’s on point here. It’s the performances by this outstanding cast that gives us the hopefulness that’s required in these uncertain times.
Director Gaye Taylor Upchurch has homed in on the irresistible Lindsay Alexandra Carter who plays our heroine Rosalind in this lively production. Carter is a hundred times adorable, delightfully feisty and endearing as the woman who gets her man by pretending to be a sort of male Ann Landers to her love target, Orlando (Lorenzo Roberts). As she schools him in how to capture the heart of, well, yes! herself, she delivers one of the best interpretations of the role of Rosalind. And for that, we can be deliriously grateful.
All this plays out in the Forest of Arden where Rosalind repairs with Celia after being been banished from the kingdom by her uncle, the villainous Duke Frederick, father to Celia (Antoinette Robinson). Frederick has stolen the royal lands from her father, Duke Senior, and banished him into exile in the Forest of Arden. Oliver (Michael Glenn), Orlando’s elder brother, is the scoundrel who has stolen his fortune. That they all wind up in the scary forests of Arden, is the coolest contrivance ever.
Others of note are Allen McCollough as both Dukes. A bit restrained as Frederick, but far more convincing as Duke Senior. The wonderful Tom Story as Jaques who philosophizes on man’s “seven ages” and has the “All the world’s a stage” lines we had to memorize in school. His delivery of this iconic speech, carries the weight of justice served. And Touchstone the courtier, played to perfection by Aaron Krohn, who presents us with a mashup of Steve Martin and Jim Carrey clad in the sort of outlandish suits you’d expect from Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Costume Designer, Charlotte Palmer-Lane puts the characters in contemporary styles (Will Hayes as Charles in spandex), while Composer Heather Christian ties it together with a mashup of music that ranges from Blues to Beat Box and madrigals to Israeli folk tunes. We are going to need a lot more of this lighthearted silliness to counteract the daily news feed.
Highly recommended to soothe the spirit and tickle the funny bone.
Through March 5th at the Folger Theatre at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003. For tickets and information call 202 544-7077 or visit www.Folger.edu/theatre.