(Chris Jones’s article appeared on Theater Loop,1/14.)
There is no more appealing Shakespearean heroine than Rosalind: a smart, down-to-earth and thoroughly generous gal who not only takes care of her best friend through turbulent political times without regard for her own ego, but through it all retains an infectious optimism about love.
And there is no better Rosalind than Kate Fry, an actress able to play the entire seven ages of women and men without any stretch of credulity, and who invariably encapsulates on stage those very same and very beguiling qualities.
Fry's exceedingly fine work in Gary Griffin's expansive and engrossing new production of “As You Like It” at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater is what you might call an essential performance. Without it, it's hard to imagine this production working so well. But with Fry as its warm, crispy, intermittently insouciant and perpetually irony-free center, this tale of court, forest and romantic disguise proceeds with the kind of rich emotional core that this delicately toned bit of Shakespeare especially needs.
And it comes with a singular quest of the heart in which one becomes wholly invested.