Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Rosalind (Lindsay Alexandra Carter) is the daughter of Duke Senior (Allen McCullough), who has been driven from court by his brother Duke Frederick (also McCullough). When Rosalind angers her uncle and is forced to leave, she travels in male disguise to the Forest of Arden, where her father lives with some followers, accompanied by her cousin Celia (stalwart Antoinette Robinson) and the court fool Touchstone (Aaron Krohn).
Of course, before she left court Rosalind fell in love at first sight with Orlando (Lorenzo Roberts), a guileless young man cheated of his inheritance by his older brother Oliver (Michael Glenn). Orlando follows Rosalind to Arden, where he finds her again in an unrecognizable form and learns something about love.
Shakespeare wisely sprinkled the play with minor characters who make an impression, including melancholy philosopher Jaques, played by Tom Story, who gives the Seven Ages of Man speech a quietly moving, matter-of-fact tone; Andrey (Kimberly Chatterjee), an enthusiastic shepherdess who fascinates the worldly, rather snide Touchstone; and Phoebe (Dani Stoller), pursued by earnest Silvius (Brian Reisman) but drawn to the supposedly male Rosalind.
John McDermott's minimalist scenic design, with its decorative panels and floral garlands, allows space for maximum movement; choreographer Alexandra Beller has crafted both elegant dances for the court and rowdier entertainment in the forest. (Arden seems to be located somewhere in the Appalachians, based on Heather Christian's down-home tunes to Shakespeare's lyrics and the accompaniment of guitars, harmonica, fiddle, and kazoo.)
The production is in modern dress with a few flourishes from costume designer Charlotte Palmer-Lane, specifically Touchstone's outrageous suits and the costume for court wrestler Charles (Will Hayes).