(Susannah Clapp’s article appeared in the Observer, 11/8.)
As You Like It? Absolutely. But not as it has been seen before. Polly Findlay has blown winter winds through the Forest of Arden and brought in fresh air. Her production contains no sunlit glades, no big beasts roasting over roaring flames, no rollicking Robin Hoodery. The palette is subdued; the high spirits more evident in contrast. By banishing merriment, Findlay has welcomed in humour.
Lizzie Clachan’s sharp-edged design turns the court into a corp. Sandwiches are eaten in unison and the crucial wrestling match becomes a team-bonding, savagery-building exercise. The difference between courtiers and bustling execs proves to be minimal. The transformation into Arden is a dramatic explosion. Grey office chairs and tables crack apart and are whisked skywards, dangling above the action like a huge prickly bush.
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