Sat | Aug 19, 2017

As You Like It on Sunday

Published:Friday | April 15, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Rosalie Craig (left) and Patsy Ferran (right) in Shakespeare'’s As You Like It at The National Theatre, London.

Shakespeare's As You Like It will be shown this Sunday at the Palace Cineplex, starting at 11 a.m.

The glorious comedy of love and change comes to the National Theatre for the first time in over 30 years, with Rosalie Craig (London Road, Macbeth at MIF) as Rosalind.

With her father the duke banished and in exile, Rosalind and her cousin Celia leave their lives in the court behind and journey into the forest of Arden. There, released from convention, Rosalind experiences the liberating rush of transformation. Disguising herself as a boy, she embraces a different way of living and falls spectacularly in love.

Olivier Award winner Polly Findlay directs the cast, including Rosalie Craig as Rosalind, Patsy Ferran as Celia, Joe Bannister as Orlando, Mark Benton as Touchstone, Phillip Arditti as Oliver, Loe Wringer as Duke Frederick, Gemma Lawrence as Phoebe, and Ken Nwosu as Silvius.

Among Findlay's body of plays seen by audiences here at Palace Cineplex through the National Theatre series have been Treasure Island and War Horse (Berlin).

With characteristic innovation the director has introduced elements of surprise. The play has a contemporary setting. "It opens in a modern office, very suffocating, no natural light, but then when we get into the forest of Arden, everything suddenly changes. We're hoping there'll be a real wow factor," Findlay said.

 

Challenge

 

For her part, Rosalie Craig says playing the mercurial Rosalind is a challenge. "There's a lot of history and a lot of baggage people who've done the role before and been brilliant at it. You have to just hope you can make it your own. But then a playwright said to me, 'Treat every old play like a new play. So I'm trying to do that," she said.'

Craig believes that Rosalind is captivating because of her ability to change the scene every time she appears. This is whether skilfully manoeuvring her intended into falling in love with her or cleverly spearheading several weddings, making for happy endings in the forest. Findlay agrees. "She gets herself into hot water so often, but she's also such a powerful character. You see every side of her. There aren't many modern playwrights who write women like that," Findlay said.

NT Live is the National Theatre's groundbreaking initiative to broadcast theatre live from the stage to cinemas around the world. Each performance is captured and broadcast live (or 'as live', depending on location) via satellite to over 2,000 venues in more than 40 countries.

The success of NT Live, which shows productions from the Donmar and the West End as well as the NT, has created more interest in going to the theatre.

Tickets are on sale at the box office, Palace Cineplex, and via the web at www.palaceamusement.com, with a value- added Palace Card.