I’m so glad I grabbed the chance to see The Cygnet Company’s production of As You Like It at the New Theatre, directed by the extraordinarily talented Amanda Knott. What a delight! Not a queue missed and every line delivered beautifully. No cast was ever more committed to their characters. It all added up to an extremely mature, professional performance which is all the more amazing because its true charm was in its youth!
Passion, vivacity, impatient desire, irrepressible excitement; a veritable celebration of all things youthful. The wrestling, staged by Assistant Director Louisa Wilde was terrifyingly rash and violent, and Scott Goodaire’s earnest, lovelorn gaze is as good as any silent film star, engendering all the pain and poignancy of first love.
Sam Burns’ impressive Shakespearian voice made great joy of “All the worlds a stage …..” and Tessa Gaukroger made the shift from princess to young man entirely believable with an extraordinarily accomplished performance. Phoebe’s growing confusion and then resolution was deftly handled by the talented Hannah Brooks. We were touched by the humour of Matthew Neighbour’s Touchstone and moved on behalf of the hapless Silvius, played with great presence by Sorrel Meechan. Many of the cast, in fact, took different roles on different nights showing their full versatility.
And then, just when all these treats had been delivered, and we were sure there could be nothing left we were suddenly transported to another ethereal plane. At the wedding scene Amanda Knott’s inspired direction, using Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony No. 6 was so breathtakingly stunning that I gasped out loud. I won’t spoil it. You’ll know it when you see it.
The set and costumes had all the signs of that Knott vision. Beautiful garlanded arches provided the perfect portals for exits and entrances and indeed framing for stillness. Simple, yet evocative of the Forest of Arden.
A thoroughly professional performance, bursting with the elixir of youth! Cygnet’s As You Like It is playing again at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London from Tuesday 27th March – Friday 30th March at 1pm and can also be seen later in the year Open Air at Poltimore House Nr Exeter between Thursday 28th June – Saturday 30th June at 7pm.
Grab your chance to see it!!
JoJo Spinks is a Westcountry writer deeply in love with her landscape and her life!
"Thank you very much for joining me here. Please read on to explore more about Working in the Gift and my joint passions of participatory arts and the Devonian landscape." JoJo :)