Enjoy a performance of Shakespeare's As You Like It just as it has been experienced by audiences for hundreds of years - only different. In this new adaptation of the comedy, the Melbourne Shakespeare Company augments the much-loved tale with modern songs and choreography.
As You Like It revolves around the story of Rosalind, a young woman who is sadly banished from the royal court and seeks refuge in the forest. Absconding with her cousin, Rosalind disguises herself as a man, naming herself Ganymede. While venturing through the forest, she encounters Orlando, a banished court wrestler who she had fallen in love with at first sight (and, as she soon finds out, has fallen in love with her too). Rosalind maintains her male alter ego and coaches an unsuspecting Orlando on how to woo Rosalind. As in any Shakespeare play, the array of background characters interact in complex ways with their competing desires, yet Rosalind manages to set everything right in the end.
Malvern's Central Park provides a lush backdrop for this latest performance of As You Like It. The play's Forest of Ardenne is swapped out for the Forest of Melbourne, in which much of the storyline takes place.
The show opens with two of the minor characters ostensibly doing choir practice, with an a capella modified version of Lizzo's hit Good As Hell. This paves the way for an engaging performance of As You Like It in which the multi-talented cast sometimes breaks into song, heightening the hilarity of the play. The use of contemporary music helps bridge the cultural gap between today's audiences and the archaic language used by the characters.
Much of the narrative is carried by Rosalind, portrayed by Annabelle Tudor, who has performed in four previous Melbourne Shakespeare Company seasons. Tudor's expressive facial expressions and vocal inflections are used for maximum comedic value. The audience bubbled with laughter at Rosalind's attempts to hide her romantic feelings when disguised as Ganymede - the only one to be fooled is her love interest Orlando, played by Jackson Head.
Annabelle Tudor's portrayal of Rosalind will have you roaring with laughter. Image: Melbourne Shakespeare Company.
Each actor put in an impressive performance, but a special mention must go to Sarah Krndija's performance of Pheobe. Pheobe takes a strong interest in Ganymede - unaware of Ganymede's true identity - while shirking off the affections of another. Krndija's enthusiastic performance shone through even among an impeccably talented cast.
Sarah Krndija's performance as Pheobe was a highlight. Image: Melbourne Shakespeare Company.
The evening performance takes place as the sun sets. By the time the 90-minute show ends, night has fallen - lending atmosphere to the romantic final scene.
You can catch As You Like It at Malvern's Central Park on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th March. There are 2pm matinees and 7pm evening shows on both days. Recently, it has been announced that the season has been extended, moving to Fairfield Amphitheatre on the 21st and 22nd of March for matinee and evening shows.
You can purchase tickets via Eventbrite. Adult tickets cost $30 each, concessions $25 and children $20.
It is an outdoor performance with no shelter, so be mindful of being prepared for the weather. You will also want to bring seats or a blanket to sit on. Drinks are available for purchase, and you are welcome to bring your own picnic.