BWW Review: AS YOU LIKE IT is Caught Between Genres and Lovers at The City Theatre in Austin, TX.
AS YOU LIKE IT, currently running at The City Theatre, has been transformed from its original comedic writing by William Shakespeare, into a dramedy set during the great depression in America's backyard. The premise of this show begins with young and fair Rosalind, fleeing the court from persecution into the Forest of Arden. Rosalind, along with her cousin Celia, venture into the woods dressed as a maid and a gentleman in what appears to be a young child's game. The laws of attraction quickly interfere with their plan of evasion from the court. Young Orlando catches the eye and heart of Rosalind early in the play, and as their adventures continue in the forest, their paths inevitably cross. However, with Rosalind in disguise, Orando plays like putty in her hand, as she manipulates his motives and desires. Seemingly all characters in AS YOU LIKE IT are desperately looking for love, and falling hard for the wrong person. With one of Shakespeare's most renowned comedies, the show presented at The City Theatre is presented more dramatically with less gags than common productions.
Of the actor's joining this cast of players, Katie Beth Stubbs playing Rosalind is the star of the show. Not only as the main protagonist written by the bard, but as the strongest performer molding and shaping Shakespeare's words to better tell Rosalind's unfolding story. Stubb's background in Shakespeare is obviously apparent throughout her performance using the language written, and finding the comedy on the page. Rosalind's partner in crime Celia, played by Madison Weinhoffer appropriately played the sidekick along for the ride in the Forest of Arden. This pair of performers progressed the story well and were a highlight throughout the show.
The direction presented by Levi Gore was simple with musical features added and romantic moments of dancing. Elementally however relevant to the romantic theme presented by Shakespeare, these additions brought the energy down in the overall show. The concept however of staging AS YOU LIKE IT in the woods during the great depression was very creative and fit the piece very well. Costume designer Kaylee Silcocks dressed the main actor's perfectly for the great depression time period and helped identify characters class and purpose through their outfits. More technical expertise can be seen by the scenery construction and decoration. The use of colors were whimsical and set the stage well for a renaissance transplant to 1930's America.
For a dramedy rather than a "slap your knee" Shakespearean comedy, AS YOU LIKE IT is currently running at The City Theatre. Though uncommon with it's more serious interpretation of this piece, AS YOU LIKE IT is entertaining and a great way to dip your feet into some Shakespeare this month.
AS YOU LIKE IT
April 13 - May 6. Thursday - Saturday 8:00 pm. Sunday 3:00 pm.
The City Theatre. 3823 Airport Blvd. Austin 78722.
General Seating $15. Center Row Reserved $20-25. Thursday all seats $10. Tickets at the door $20. Group and student discounts.
Photo Credit: Aleks Ortynski