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As You Like It review at Grosvenor Park Chester

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Shakespeare could not have wished for a better production of As You Like It than that which is being played out beneath the trees of Grosvenor Park. Everything about it smacks of sheer energy, fizz and enthusiasm, all of which are given free rein by the first-rate direction of Nikolai Foster, who does not impinge on the tale by overloading the original with modern references, but instead adds dashes of colour with the touch of a master craftsman.

As for the performances, all those involved are quite superb, but Natalie Grady’s Rosalind is nigh on faultless. She commands the stage with her delicate wit and feisty bravado with all the confidence of a young Elizabeth Taylor, while the cheekiness of Sophie Roberts’ Celia brings new dynamism to a character who is so often merely a buttress to Rosalind’s mixed emotions.

David Ricardo-Pearce and Nicolas Asbury, Orlando and Jaques respectively, are commanding yet empathetic to their characters in a way that makes them shine. This is particularly true of Asbury, who’s ‘All the world’s a stage’ soliloquy is moving enough to moisten even the most stubborn of eyes. As a counterpoint, the tomfoolery of Paul-Ryan Carberry’s Touchstone is joy personified, as are the performances of Rosie Jones as Phebe and David Hartley as Silvius.

With a natural setting of woodland accentuated by some spellbinding choreography and sumptuous costumes, this As You Like is quite simply stunning and deserves to be lauded from on high.

Production Information

Grosvenor Park, Chester, July 7-July 21

William Shakespeare
Nikolai Foster
Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre Company
Cast includes
Natalie Grady, David Ricardo-Pearce, Nicolas Asbury, Sophie Roberts, Paul-Ryan Carberry, Rosie Jones, David Hartley, Mike Burnside
Running time
2hrs 50mins
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