WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE?: Regents Park Open Air Theatre
WHEN: 9/7/18, press night 11/7, runs to 28/7/18
We’re joined in the audience at this preview by director Max Webster and composer Charlie Fink, formerly frontman of band Noah And The Whale, who have collaborated on work we’ve loved recently including Cover My Tracks and The Lorax (both Old Vic).
- Read on for reasons including what a magical venue this is as the sun sets
We’ve never been to the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre before and, as the sun sets, the Forest of Arden, the location for the conclusion of As You Like It, comes magically to life with fairy lights twinkling in the growing darkness.
What makes this production different to other As You Like Its that we’ve seen is that dress is modern day and there are a handful or original songs, written by Fink with both a folk and a Country’n’Western feel, that are performed live by the cast.
Webster also builds on the pro-environment message of The Lorax as members of the cast unthinkingly throw away their paper coffee cups into the water which surrounds the lip of the stage to the disgust of those around us in the audience.
Especially funny as the Fool Touchstone is Danny Kirrane who throws in impromptu snatches of songs including Beyonce’s Single Ladies and The Archies’ Sugar, Sugar during his wooing.
We last saw Me’sha Bryan in Caroline Or Change at the Hampstead theatre and she shines here singing most of Fink’s fine original songs.
But the biggest draw is Olivia Vinall (pictured above), who we last saw in a Chekhov trilogy at the National, as Rosalind – passing as both male and female – as she comes across the man she loves in the forest while impersonating a boy.
This production of As You Like It then is lots of fun, brimming with memorable original music and its setting makes for a truly magical evening.