OZ Acts As You Like it

OZ Acts As You Like it

OZActs’ rendition of William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” at the Williamstown Botanic Gardens provided an accessible and high-quality theatrical experience.

Despite rain earlier in the day, the setting of the Botanic Gardens provided a perfect backdrop. The atmosphere outside the performance space was immediately immersive, with people dressed in period costumes milling about, playing music, and interacting with the audience before the show commenced.

One of the highlights of the production was Rosalind’s portrayal, whose expressive movements and charismatic presence captivated the audience from the start. Touchstone (the court Jester) also stood out, entertaining the crowd before the show and during intervals with his witty antics. He even indulged in playful banter with the audience, encouraging them to throw fruit at him.

Despite the inherent complexity of Shakespearean language, the play was easy to follow, pleasing the wide audience, which included many family members of the cast (which Touchstone pointed out to the audience) and children. Song interludes helped set the scenes, and classic lines such as “all the world’s a stage” were delivered poignantly, resonating with the audience.

The chemistry between cousins Rosalind and Celia was another standout aspect of the performance, particularly in scenes involving scheming and plotting. The actors delivered every line with confidence, and the quick costume changes between characters were executed impressively, adding to the dynamic nature of the production (noting that the whole production was outdoors – so there was no traditional dressing room!).

The side and background characters added layers of comedy to the play, contributing to its light-hearted and comic tone. Despite this, the production skillfully balanced the humour with the darker subject matter, reminding the audience of the characters’ banishment by the Duke.

The outdoor setting was utilized to its fullest potential, with the production cleverly using the space. For example, during a scene where a character hangs love poems about Rosalind, blank scrolls are hung on tree branches, enhancing the immersive experience.

The costumes were exemplary period pieces, with each outfit contributing to the characters’ disguises and identities. From the intricate details to the versatility of accents and mannerisms, the costumes added depth to the characters and the overall narrative.

The production maintained a high energy level throughout despite the challenges of staging an outdoor play in unpredictable weather conditions. Moments such as Rosalind fainting and needing to be carried (“Counterfeit, I assure you”) provided memorable highlights, showcasing the actors’ commitment to their roles.

Overall, OZActs’ “As You Like It” production at Williamstown Botanic Gardens was a delightful rendition of Shakespeare’s timeless classic.

This review also appears on It’s On The House. Check out more reviews at Whats The Show to see what else is on in your town.

Spread the word on your favourite platform!