This year I’m seeing two Bell Shakespeare productions and this week was the first of them. Aside from getting As You Like It mixed up with What You Will, and so getting a nice surprise about which play I was seeing, it was a very enjoyable production.
It didn’t rock my world as much as the Henry’s have over the past two years, but it was still well done. The first half was a bit “shouty” with some of the angry and serious lines of the opening part of the story being delivered in a way that rendered Orlando – the hero – a bit less likeable than I thought he should be. I also didn’t really get why there was an odd mix of accents. It’s a handy way to differentiate characters when actors are playing multiple parts, but it was thematically inconsistent.
There was, yet again, an excellent use of music to break up the prose and the minimalist set worked a treat. The actors were very good and I tip my hat to those who had physical roles, because they gave us convincing action.
And I have to mention John Bell, who showed how to live Shakespeare’s words. He’s a master of natural delivery.