Not Necessarily "As You Like It"
Last night, we finally had the chance to see William Shakesphere's "As you like it" at the Ahmanson Theater in downtown LA. Directed by the legendary Sir Peter Hall and with all the pedigree of a great production, we expected quite a bit. Sadly, we were a little underwhelmed.
The lighting, by Peter Mumford, and design, by John Gunter, were first rate but it was most of the performances that left us wanting. Especially troubling was Rebecca Hall's Rosalind (if you know the play, a pretty important role) who alternated from angry spiting to shrill yelling, sometimes in the same scene.
Dan Stevens, as Orlando, fared slightly better but for the most part was relatively charisma-free. Which makes Rosalind's pining obsession all the more difficult to believe. There were some bright spots, however. Philip Voss was teriffic as Jaques, delivering the famous "all the worlds a stage . . " speech with vigor.
Also very good was Michael Siberry as the requisite fool, Touchstone, bringing a welcome bit of actual laughter to what is supposed to be a comedy. Although, some of the other players had one or two funny bits as well.
Unfortunately, as we have seen this play before and seen it at the famous Old Globe Theater in San Diego, our opinion is probably a little tainted by those past wonderful experiences. This play is supposed to be a fun romp that brings laughter and joy to the players and the audience. Maybe they just had an off night? After all, it was a Thursday and the play has been running for several weeks.
We like having theater in LA and hope it continues. And its not that we hated this production. We were really just hoping it would be better. It's more disappointment than hate. Better luck next time.