Opened 21 June 2005
Written: By William Shakespeare
Directed: David Lan
Producer: Sonia Friedman
Cast: Helen McCrory (Rosalind), Sienna Miller (Celia), Dominic West (Orlando), Sean Hughes (Touchstone), Reece Shearsmith (Jaques), Clive Rowe (Duke Senior)
Synopsis: Set in late 1940's France. The court of the Duke, exiled to the forest of Arden (the Ardennes), are philosophers and poets of Paris cafe society. Their songs are in the style of the music of Yves Montand and Edith Piaf. The violence in this dark romance is the memory of the second world war. Rosalind (disguised as a boy) goes into the forest in search of her father and finds Orlando, with whom she is infatuated, also fleeing tyranny. She offers to cure him of his obsession with her. Thus begins Shakespeare's great comedy of young love.
What the critics had to say.....
NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "I like to be nicely shocked at the theatre, and David Lan duly satisfies by giving As You Like It a sharp but appropriate Gallic make-over. Here in high heels, highish humour and a slinky, little black dress, comes Shakespeare's wittiest heroine, Helen McCrory's flirtatious Rosalind." PAUL TAYLOR for THE INDEPENDENT says, "Limited to roughly two gestures, facial expressions, and tones of voice, wooden Ms Miller has repeatedly to resort to the amateur's tactic - ie, when in doubt, shout and exaggerate. She approaches an emotion with the finesse of someone beating a carpet. As a result, there's precious little comedy or charm left in Celia's frustration at being sidelined by Rosalind's crossed-dressed mock-wooing of Orlando...The greatest pity is that the production reduces the excellent actress Helen McCrory into lapses of overemphasis as a deep-voiced, sexily suited Rosalind." MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "A piece of star-driven, West End Shakespeare full of whimsical absurdities and coarse acting. Yet I can forgive almost everything for the sake of a Rosalind as vibrant and compelling as Helen McCrory...well supported by Sienna Miller who makes Celia a real character." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Something has gone horribly wrong with a staging that seems to be all concept and no heart.....Helen McCrory proves an unexpectedly charmless Rosalind...this almost heroically perverse production turns Shakespeare's beautiful romantic comedy into a cruel and unusual punishment." IAN JOHNS for THE TIMES says, "McCrory, thankfully, is a vibrantly emotional anchor — but it’s not quite enough." PETER HEPPLE for THE STAGE says, "Not a great Shakespeare experience but a pleasant night out."