San Francisco

A Beautiful Production of Shakespeare's As You Like It
Marin Shakespeare Company

Also see Richard's review of Pearls Over Shanghai


Luisa Frasconi and Elena Wright
Marin Shakespeare Company opens its 25th season with a charming production of Shakespeare's As You Like It This is one of the best productions that this sterling company has produced. It contains everything an audience could want in a Shakespeare comedy. It's wild, whimsical, bawdy and romantic, with stylish language.

As You Like It has always been one of my favorite Shakespearean plays. One of my earliest memories was seeing the brilliant Katharine Hepburn playing Rosalind to William Prince's Orlando at the Cort Theatre in New York in 1950. Over the years I have seen many productions in this country and at the Royal National Theatre in London and Stratford-Upon-Avon. Oregon Shakespeare Company has produced several versions, including one in a wild west setting and one set in America during the Depression era. The last time I saw the Bard's comedy was a modern version at San Jose Repertory which had cell phones, iPods and brilliant modern costumes.

Director Robert Currier decided to present this charismatic production in the classical style with a lot of comedy camping up in the second act among Touchstone, Silvius, Phoebe and Audrey. He pulls out all the stops in this almost three hour production to make it an appealing evening of entertainment. A realistic wrestling scene between Orlando and Charles the wrestler in the first act is incorporated, thanks to Richard Pallaziol fight director, and there are lovely songs composed by Billie Cox.

Elena Wright is a pure delight as Rosalind. She brings a certain pluckiness to the part and there is a natural uncalculated charm about her, especially when she is dressed as a long-limbed peasant boy. Teddy Spencer gives a vibrant performance as Orlando. He plays the character as a sweet, swooning boy and has a great theatrical voice. Adam Roy is hilarious as Touchstone, dressed in an outlandish vaudeville clown suit. He plays the role like an old time burlesque comedian.

Alexander Lenarsky, playing the young shepherd Silvius, and Luisa Frasconi, playing Phebe a shepherdess, are entertaining as the young country bumpkins. Val Garrahan is properly lusty as Audrey, a goatherd. Scott Coopwood gives a strong performance as the Duke Senior and Duke Frederick, and Davern Wright is excellent as the sly Oliver. Julian Lopez-Morillas gives a marvelous performance as Corin, the shepherd. He is articulate in the pentameter of Shakespeare verse. Glenn Havlan is splendid as the melancholy Jacques, although his reading of the "all the world's a stage" section is done in a conversational mode. Livia Demarchi is impressive as Rosalind's companion in the forest of Arden. Sean Mirkovich, Allen Darby, Jeffrey Lloyd Heatherly, Allen Darby, Kit Grimm, Nathan Levy, Javier Pritchard, Hannah Finn, Derek Apperson, Rachel Newman and Rebecca Rudy all give excellent performances in their respective roles.

Jackson Currier's set design is sparse but he has added a clever way of portraying the Forest of Arden. Tammy Berlin's costumes are lovely authentic classical Shakespeare garb. Sound by Billie Cox is perfect for an outside theatre.

As You Like It preforms in repertory with Romeo and Juliet through August 10, 2014. Cost is "Pay as You Like It" at Forest Meadows Amphitheatre, 890 Belle Ave. Dominican University of California, San Rafael, California. Marin Shakespeare recently received a 1 million dollar grant so admission is free; however, admission donations of any amount will be accepted at the door for this production. Order tickets online at www.marinshakespeare.org. or 415-499-4488.


Photo: Eric Chazankin


Cheers - and be sure to Check the lineup of great shows this season in the San Francisco area

- Richard Connema



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