As You Like It

Theatre, Drama
As You Like It at Pop-up Globe
Photograph: Jay Wennington

Experience Shakespeare’s rom-com as it was intended, in this limited season from New Zealand venture Pop-up Globe

Pop-up Globe is a replica of the Globe Theatre of 1614, built to the exact specifications of the Bard and his players. This is how the most popular plays in the world were born and staged: with natural light and unplugged sound, a standing audience of general admission ‘groundlings’, direct-audience address, and dirty jokes telegraphed with obscene gestures.

In their production of 1599 comedy As You Like It, the Pop-up Globe company take historical accuracy to the next level with an all-male cast (originally, women were not permitted to work as actors). While this may (justifiably) raise a few eyebrows, director Tom Mallaburn's production leans heavily towards the play's gender politics and themes around sexuality. It's a strategy that makes sense given that the central plot of the show involves a woman – the intelligent, fiesty Rosalind – dressing as a man to test just how genuine her suitor Orlando's love for her really is. At its best, Mallaburn's production succeeds in feeling genuinely contemporary; the real joy of the show is watching Rosalind, played masterfully by Jonathan Tynan-Moss, hilariously experiment with different (and very recognisable) forms of performed masculinity. And as the lead characters flee the world of the English court and make their way deep into the forests of Arden, they begin to cast off the constraints of 17th Century society and start listening to their true desires. 

In addition to gags about clueless men and modern dating (at one point, smitten Orlando fills his love poetry with One Direction lyrics), audiences can expect plenty of outlandish physical comedy, musical interludes and one-on-one interactions with groundlings.

Read our guide and do Pop-up Globe like a pro.

Also on at the Pop-up Globe:
Much Ado About Nothing

Othello

Henry V

LiveReviews|0
1 person listening