In Christine Edzard's modern-dress version of Shakespeare's comedy, the forest is an urban wasteland, the exiled Duke lords it over a group of down-and-outs, and Orlando versifies with an aerosol can. After the scrupulous period detail of her earlier work, this is a surprise, and the conceit weighs heavily on the entire production, putting text against context. The Duke's court appears to be a defunct town hall (with the acoustics of a swimming-pool). Andrew Tiernan plays both Orlando and his brother Oliver - but never in the same frame. Emma Croft is Rosalind, caparisoned like a man (and countless modern women) in jeans and sweater: if there be truth in sight, her Ganymede can make no sense. Both are swamped by their lines, and even Griff Rhys Jones' Touchstone makes heavy weather of the Bard's tortuous wit. It is easy to believe Edzard's claim that 'the film made itself...we just let the play do its own thing'. The wonder is that they bothered to put film in the camera, for sadly this is Shakespeare sans teeth, eyes, taste, sans everything.
Cast and crew
Miriam Margolyes Cyril Cusack Emma Croft Griff Rhys Jones James Fox Celia Bannerman Don Henderson