Delivering the Bard can be difficult
AS YOU LIKE IT Toads Theatre Company, Little Theatre, Torquay
HAVE you heard Shakespeare spoken with a phoney French accent? No? Then head down to the Little Theatre.
It's never ideal to knock an amateur production with all the hard work and effort put in by the volunteer team. It goes without saying that it is great stage experience for all those involved, especially the younger members. Bravo, long may it continue.
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But there were parts of the show that were lacking. My main issue was actually with the concept itself, moving the piece to between the world wars. It confused matters. Shakespeare can be hard for an audience to understand. It's even worse when some crucial lines aren't delivered with their true meaning, or were sometimes inaudible. I felt the tunes as part of the production were also a little flat. The director's notes say women were playing three male roles because it was 'difficult' to cast men. The alarm bells should have started ringing.
There are some am-dram heavyweights who gave a good performance, Jolyon Tuck as Orlando, Lydia Dockray as Rosalind, Becca Lamburn and Iain Douglas to name a few. But they got somewhat lost in an overall experience which left me a little perplexed, frustrated and a tad disappointed. I liked the set, including the massive tree, which for me was a highlight. But, unfortunately, the half-turfed stage kind of kicked the Bard into the long grass.