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As You Like It


Botanic Gardens, Glasgow
3 stars
It takes a wrestling match to make Rosalind’s heart go all aflutter 
over Orlando in what’s possibly Shakespeare’s most long-winded comedy. 
That it’s taking part in the grunt and grapple game that similarly gets 
Orlando’s endorphins going speaks volumes about the excitement going on 
in these would-be lovers young lives. Especially as the mat Orlando 
throws himself about in Gordon Barr’s promenade production for this 
year’s Bard in the Botanics season is ever so slightly soggy due to the 
light drizzle that briefly delayed this weekend’s opening performance.

Barr goes for broke while it stays dry, moving from the opening scene 
in Duke Frederick’s court set beside one of the garden’s hothouses, to 
the Forest of Arden sheltered under a tree, to a flame-lit finale 
beside a sheltered pagoda. The trouble is, to get through this extended 
  rom-com awash with rustic cross-dressing, one needs to do it with a 
gallop that the longeurs between locations hinder somewhat.

There are still good things going on here, particularly from Nicole 
Cooper as a Rosalind who flits between mischievous tomboyishhness and a 
tongue-tied teenage girl with a serious crush. Kirk Bage makes for a 
stately, somewhat Wildean Jaques, and Beth Marshall doubles up nicely 
as Madame Le Beau and comely goatherd, Audrey. Best of all are all too 
brief cameos from Ashleigh Kasaboski as smitten shepherdess Phebe and 
Steven Grawrock as straw-hatted village idiot, William.

As all four couples come home to roost following at least one romp in 
the bushes, As You Like It may take a while to get there, but, rarely 
for this year’s Bard in the Botanics, at least they made it home and 
dry.

The Herald, July 16th 2012

ends



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