As You Like It

After a couple of weeks of watching the senior talent from the Stratford Festival showing off in Toronto, it was fun to see what the next generation of stars can do.

The members of the Birmingham Conservatory this year presented a terrific version of As You Like It. The Studio Theatre does not permit scenery or even much in the way of props, so plays must be done in a very stripped down manner. And a cast of ten requires almost everyone to handle multiple parts. These are two challenges for any company, but this group handled them beautifully.

Monice Peter was a very strong Rosalind/Ganymede, although she seemed oddly  self conscious in the epilogue. Zara Jestadt was a charmingly funny Celia/Aliena.  Edeoma Emesowum handled the transitions between her roles as Duke and Duchess with ease and managed to present a sincere and humble William as well.

The seven men in the group were also very capable of taking on multiple roles as needed. Emilio Veira was a charming Orlando, much more comfortable in the second act than the first. Zlatomir Moldonavski was excellent as the charming, but sleazy Touchstone.  Rodrigo Belfuss was a wonderful Jaques. The stripped down staging  put the focus on him and allowed the speeches to be the focus, something that did not happen in last summer’s main stage version.

Tim Ziegler was impressive as Charles the wrestler, and even more impressive as Audrey. He resembles his father, but his voice is the real give away. They sound alike. I enjoyed the performances of Nick Nahwegahbow, Thomas Mitchell Barnett and Farhang Ghajar all of whom had several smaller roles played to the same high standard.

Stratford in the winter is not a wasteland!

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About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
This entry was posted in Stratford 2017, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to As You Like It

  1. keithhpotter says:

    After last summer’s gimmicky production of this play, this one was pleasantly straight forward, and all the better for it. The excellent young cast makes one vey optimistic about the future of the festival.
    I agree with Cathy’s comments about the various actors. Belfuss’ Jaques was actually more effective than Seana McKenna’s in the summer – which is saying something, although it was in part due to McKenna’s Jaques seeming to be from a different (and probably better) production than the Keiley one.
    I think Peter was thrown off her stride for the epilogue by the audience already applauding, but prior to that she was very good.

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