by Ilana Hirschberg, IYAF Press Team, Review: As We Like It Riding on the success of last year’s excellent production of A Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare Napa Valley launched themselves into the deep end with an incredibly daring adaptation of As You Like It. With no sets, no period costumes, no shoes and no stage directions, the production was a blank canvas a soundboard for the actor’s voices.

The actors interacted fearlessly with the audience, even handing out Orlando’s love letter carvings to audience member ‘trees’ and speaking directly to audience members, at times with hilarious consequences.

The cast had an interesting take on many of the characters, especially Celia (daughter of the treacherous Duke Frederick), who behaved less like a princess and more like an untrained puppy. The acting was of exceptional quality and George Bryan, who played both Dukes, slipped effortlessly from the angry and jealous Duke Frederick, to the fatherly and compassionate Duke Senior, sometimes with barely a second in-between.

The worry with a play which has been adapted so many times is that the key speeches will be stale and unoriginal. However, this was not the case with Napa Valley’s As You Like It. John Bond, who played Jacques, recited the famous speech ‘All the world’s a stage’ with a wide eyed wonder, which made it sound fresh and new.

The only thing which detracted from my enjoyment of the performance was the irritating and wholly unnecessary recorded birdsong which played throughout.

Overall, the production was brave, daring and so much fun. A brilliant introduction to Shakespeare for theatre goers of any age, and a definite must see for all Shakespeare buffs.

Based on information supplied by IYAF Press Team.