As You Like It
Grosvenor Park, Chester
July 7 – July 21
Author: William Shakespeare
Director: Nikolai Foster
Producer: Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre Company
Cast Includes: Natalie Grady, David Ricardo-Pearce, Nicolas Asbury, Sophie Roberts, Paul-Ryan Carberry, Rosie Jones, David Hartley, Mike Burnside
Running Time: 2 hrs 50 mins
With the sun setting gently behind the trees, the natural stage is set for what has to be one of the most entertaining productions of As You Like for many a long year. From the general performances to Nikolai Foster’s tremendous direction and some quite stunning choreography, this is a piece that will bring not only laughs but also some moments of quiet contemplation too.
Never more so than during Nicolas Asbury’s “all the world’s a stage soliloquy, which is astonishingly poignant and especially when set against a role that for the most part vivacious, energetic above all funny. The extrovert clowning of Paul-Ryan Carberry’s Touchstone is joy personified, as are the performances of Rosie Jones as Phebe and David Harley as Silvius, whereas the cheekiness of Sophie Roberts’ Celia brings new dynamism to the character.
Excellent too, as Orlando, is David Ricardo-Pearce yet it is his love interest, Rosalind, played by Natalie Grady, who really shines and turns in a performance to rival that of anybody who has played the part previously. The sheer energy, vigour, enthusiasm and passion Grady manages to put into the part is astonishing and an absolute pleasure to witness.
As the sun finally winks out of the summer sky, it is safe to say that anybody who sees this production of As You Like It will leave Grosvenor Park with a spring in their step because this, without question, is as close to faultless as any Shakespeare production has a right to be.