Theatre: As You Like It

Caught the Young Vic's production of As You Like It at the Wyndham's Theatre on Saturday night and it was quite good (and fun). This production has Sienna Miller as second billing, but playing Celia she hardly has the most demanding of Shakespearean roles. It is quite possible to play this role and to fret over Jude at the same time I suspect.

The stars of the show really were Helen McCrory as Rosalind - who playing a man and woman gets to do all those fun Shakespearean things - and Dominic West as Orlando, who looked suitably good looking and all that. On the strength of McCrory's work in this I suggested to A that she deserves to be a bigger star. After reading her bio I realised that she already has quite a film career but surely she should be the next Catherine Zeta Jones. A suggested that CZJ was far more beautiful that HMcC so she had no chance, but I suggested that with cigarettes and plastic surgery surely anything is possible.

As for the show, this production is set in France in the 1940s, which gives and excuse to have many romantic-sounding songs and to use Shakespeare's text against an accordion, piano and cello. While the logic of setting it in this location may not always make sense, it sounded and looked great... For the most part. The production was a bit sparse in its design of the Forest of Arden. For the first half it was just a bit of grass on the stage with a black brick wall as a backdrop (which gave the impression of being the theatre's back wall). In the second half the black brick wall lifted up to reveal a black and white photograph of a forest. The Donmar style of using a black brick wall as a production feature seems to be catching on.

The update of the production also had a lot more obvious references to naughty bits. This had an interesting affect on the audience, which in the Royal Circle where A and I were sitting seemed to consist mostly of young American women. This meant that every time there was a reference to a penis there was nervous laughter, and everytime there was a reference to a vagina there was a collective gasp. I don't think these women were familiar with Eve Ensler's work. Still, you have to love young American women. The bottom would fall out of West End theatre if they didn't keep coming to shows, and despite references to naughty bits there was a lot in this show for them to love.

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