‘As You Like It’ review – Gender-swapped take on the Bard’s comedy is an amusing frolic

The acclaimed production returns to the Globe with cheerful jubilance – ★★★★

As You Like It is an interesting play for a first visit to Shakespeare’s Globe. Federay Holmes and Elle While’s 2018 production of the story about “mistaken identities”, with gender-reversed characters, can be just as confusing from an audience perspective as well – the two Dukes being particularly hard to follow.

It is in fact the fourth wall breaks dotted across the production which are particularly entertaining – not least when planes overhead are admired by the cast with wonder before being described as ‘dragonflies’. Bouncing off audience members with incredible enthusiasm and comedic timing, the interactive nature lends itself well to the play’s original staging.

Yet what is perhaps more modern is the casting. Deaf actresses Nadia Nadarajah and Sophie Stone perform with charm and elegance in the roles of Celia and Jaques respectively. Stone’s rendition of the acclaimed monologue, accompanied by sign language, added a new kind of poetry to Shakespeare’s impressive script.

Elsewhere, Jack Laskey plays Rosalind with standout flamboyance. Add in some rousing music from James Maloney and you have what makes for a hearty, entertaining evening of Shakespeare.

As You Like It is now playing at Shakespeare’s Globe until 20 September.

Production Images: Helen Murray.

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