As You Like It
17 December 2022
5.0 out of 5.0 stars
Another visit to the new @sohoplace theatre, this time for Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
I still find the seats to be excessively uncomfortable, especially for a new theatre, but the show itself was fantastic.
As You Like It revolves around several characters living in the forest of Arden, some by choice, some due to banishment from the court of Duke Frederik. Within the forest unfolds a series of romantic adventures surrounding secret identities and crossed communication wires. But as a Shakespearean comedy, everything gets resolved joyfully in the end.
There are several things of note here for me. First off, one of the actors, Rose Ayling-Ellis playing Celia, uses BSL throughout the performance, with some other actors also utilising signing to communicate with her. The show also has full captioning on screens on all four walls of the theatre, making it easy for any audience member to follow the action on the central stage while also reading the captions if required. I would love to see more of this kind of inclusion and accessibility in the theatre, what a fantastic way to make theatre unrestricted for more patrons!
The cast is also very diverse, which is amazing to see, so many actors with incredible stage presence. The show felt very open and progressive.
The central focus on the stage is a piano, ever present throughout the show, setting the mood with appropriate, at times comical, musical background atmosphere, as well as supporting the many songs in this play. The pianist is occasionally involved in the goings-on on stage, lending more levity and comic interludes throughout this already very comical play. The physical comedy playing into the musical accompaniment is beautifully realised.
The stage is kept simple, with just a large chandelier signifying the court, a large installation of branches overhead, and a spray of beautiful paper leaves, flowers, and snow raining from above throughout the show.
A gorgeously realised production that is more than worth a visit! The show runs until 28th January, so you still have plenty of time to book.