By now, I'm all too familiar with the Pop-up Globe and yet as I near this towering structure I still get butterflies thinking of the prospect of what I am about to experience. Based on the success of the shows I've seen of Henry V, Othello and Much Ado About Nothing, I know that As You Like It will not fail to disappoint.
As You Like It is presented by the All-Male resident acting company of the Pop-up Globe, called the King's Company. And so it must be expected that all the female roles in this play will be played by men, or rather 'youthful' looking males - just like they did in Shakespeare's day.
I have mixed feelings about this choice, halfway through watching this show I couldn't tell whether it was a play with men playing women, or whether it was a play about same-sex relationships. A bold choice turning Phoebe the Shepherdess into a macho gay man. Either way, it was still very enjoyable to watch.
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.
A notable feature of this show was the fabulous costumes. Such a visual delight to behold these flowing swooshing capes of bright colours. The flamboyant costumes equally matched the flamboyant characters that inhabit this show. There was plenty of sass and attitude to boot. At one point, the men in front of me were parroting the lines to their company of friends - not too sure as to the reason why, because we were all at the same show, hearing the same lines. Goes to show how much fun and excitement there was in the whole theatre.
As You Like It is like a candy shop for the senses! So many sweet things to take in. From the elaborate colourful costumes, the entertaining dance sequences and one of the standouts was the music in the show. The boisterous rendition of some popular songs added some hilarious moments to what is an already a funny show. I have to admit it also had me cheering out loud at times.
A personal highlight of the night for me was watching the actors react to a helicopter flying overhead. In all fairness, it seemed as if the helicopter was deliberately flying around above the pop-up globe, maybe getting an aerial view of the Shakespeare classic. One of the actors who was singing at the time suddenly shouted out to the helicopter that it "made me forget my song" to which the audience erupted into laughter. Another actor chose to share with the audience that he thought "it was in my head" while another just stopped and looked up at the helicopter. Such a delight to have seen this happen, reminding us that a) we were watching a live performance, and b) that Shakespeare isn't as serious as we thought.
This show is billed as a comedy, and thanks to the talented ensemble and the hilarious direction, the show surpassed more than just a conventional comedy show. Every joke that you could possibly put into this show is put in. Once it's in, it is then milked for everything it's worth. If Shakespeare were alive to have witnessed this performance, surely he would have just invented a new word to call this type of comedy. Perhaps a laugh-out-loud, belly-aching, gut-busting, sore-cheeks, feel-good, roll-on-the-floor comedy. Or something along those lines perhaps?
Some very 'out there' characters
I often get asked if the Shakespeare shows are suitable for children. In this show, there is a lot of adult humour in the performance, which I can only suspect that it would go straight over the child's head. Unless the child knows what the joke is about then I wouldn't blame it on the performance. However, by nature Shakespeare is bawdy, with lots of references to sex and death.
I recommend this show for a good night out. The cast are brilliant and execute each gag with a physical agility that is simply wonderful to watch. And now with their extended season, there are a few more shows for you to get along to before they skip town. For show times and instructions on how to book visit their website popupglobe.com.au for more information. They also have a FAQ section which addresses things like weather, suitability for children, lost tickets and parking. So head to their website to book your tickets now.