THEATER REVIEW: “As You Like It” @ Shakespeare & Company [Berkshire on Stage]
Review by Jenny Hansell
Photograph by Nile Scott Studios
A wooded glade lined with white pine trees in the Berkshires is a perfect stand-in for the Forest of Arden, the setting for As You Like It, the tale of palace intrigue, battling brothers, pastoral comedy and young love now at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox.
Duke Frederick has banished his brother, Duke Senior, from court, but allowed Duke Senior’s daughter Rosalind to stay as companion to his own daughter, Celia. Young Orlando has been forced into poverty by his brother Oliver, who is withholding the fortune Orlando inherited from their father. As the play gets underway, Duke Frederick has a change of heart and sends Rosalind away, accusing her of being a traitor like her father. She and Celia decide to disguise themselves and go to the Forest of Arden, but not before she has fallen in love with Orlando after watching him in a wrestling match. Later, in the forest, disguised as Ganymede, a young page, she tests Orlando’s love for his fair Rosalind.
The director, Allyn Burrows, has set the play in the Roaring ‘20s, and the young women wear drop-waist dresses and cloche hats designed by Govane Lohbauer. The cast is filled with S&Co regulars and a few first-timers, all of whom handle the language and the slapstick comedy with equal ease.