We take a look at what is being said about Ellen McDougall’s production, running at the theatre until the 29th October.

© Ellie Kurttz

WhatsOnStage: *** “Thankfully there is more to enjoy than to not and it is Nina Bowers’ Rosalind that lifts the evening and deftly swoons and cajoles with far greater clarity of speech. Bowers cuts a dashing figure as the disguised Ganymede and leans nicely into the fluidity of those romantic moments with her/his Orlando. Macy-Jacob Seelochan’s wonderfully sardonic Celia perfectly offsets Rosalind’s spirited exuberance. As Celia turns to her “poor and mean attire” she plucks a baseball cap from a groundling’s head. It’s a terrific match.”

The Guardian: ** “Director Ellen McDougall’s inclusive take on As You Like It has a sort of ramshackle innocence and openness to it. The casting is gender neutral and the context is fluid. Shakespeare’s play has also been interwoven with bursts of contemporary text written by Travis Alabanza, and Michael Henry’s score is filled with flashes of indy, punk and pop numbers. Max Johns’ costumes feature ruffles and tunics but they are also ripped and torn and layered up with modern-day accessories. Jacques, in particular, looks as if he has stumbled back from a heavy night’s clubbing. Fun was definitely had. But how to make sense of it all?”

Evening Standard: **** “McDougall’s production is not always subtle but it is consistently delightful. And it made me hear some familiar passages, like Rosalind and Jaques debating the values of melancholy and merriment, as if they were new. A pleasure.”

The Telegraph: **** “Ellen McDougall’s leans into the freedom and absurdities of Shakespeare’s comedy in this witty, gender-blurring interpretation.”

Time Out: **** “But it’s fun! Lots of fun! ‘As You Like It’ is a play that can leave audiences lost in the woods if it’s not done right, but I emerged from these forests with a veritable bounce in my step.”

London Theatre.co.uk: *** “The production’s greatest asset is its strong Rosalind, Orlando and Celia trio. Orlando, so often more drippy than dashing, is imbued with initiative and ardency by Isobel Adomakoh Young, and Nina Bowers’ giddy, fast-talking Rosalind has a dancer’s grace – though, strangely, Rosalind’s convention-breaking, ultra-queer epilogue is replaced with an interpretive dance that showcases Bowers’ impressive backbends.”

The Stage: *** “Queer reimagining of the pastoral comedy twinkles and charms.”

Broadway World: *** “Its strength is obviously in its joyous and uncompromising queer nature. McDougall casts it entirely gender-blind, making it a piece where gender doesn’t matter, even though its role is at the very core of it. They turn it into an exploration of the performative quality of identity with plenty of tongue-in-cheek moments that tug at the artifice of drama.”

There Ought to be Clowns: “There’s joyousness abounding on the stage, in the representation being reflected here at a venue like this. But a production with little variety in its approach always has a danger in seeming tonally flat – there’s little real melancholy to deepen the work here beyond the party vibe, to make us feel something beyond pride.”

As You Like it continues to play at the Shakespeare’s Globe until the 29th October.


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