Swap is suc­cess­ful as ac­tors shine through with re­versed roles

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS -

TAK­ING a ti­tle and main themes of usurped rulers, wrestling cham­pi­ons, ban­ish­ment and love from Thomas Lodge’s Ros­alynde, Shakespare made Lodge’s son­nets pieces of mock­ery.

He even adapted names – Ros­alynde to Ros­alind– in his ver­sion of the tale.

Shake­speare’s char­ac­ters are easy to com­pre­hend be­cause they fol­low their de­sires, do some­thing be­cause they want to and how love can make peo­ple do some pretty haz­ardous and reck­less things with the tan­gled webs of dis­guise and ro­mance re­worked.

An­thony Young cer­tainly added more than a touch of hu­mour to the pro­duc­tion not just as the court jester Touch­stone, but also as Pheobe the be­sot­ted shep­herdess.

In true form Rob Keeves (Jaques) gave just the right amount of melan­choly to con­trast with his role of Charles (wrestler to Duchess Fred­erique), and de­signed the sim­ple, but ef­fec­tive set.

Em­me­line Brae­field (Celia) was de­light­ful and was an ef­fec­tive foil for Pippa Meek­ings, who gave an out­stand­ing per­for­mance of Ros­alind. Ex­cel­lent too were Richard Lessen (Orlando & Sil­vius - the not quite all there shep­herd) and Joseph Burke (Oliver & Corin).

Once un­der­way, and the ben­e­fits of a mem­ber of the au­di­ence hav­ing a watch, and which gave me a lit­tle chuckle when Jaques de­liv­ered his lines re a dial; Jonathan Legg has di­rected an en­joy­able pro­duc­tion of this play and in­ter­est­ingly gen­der swapped Dukes for Duchesses, both well played by Helen Fuller­ton.

Judith Wordsworth

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