This student performance of As You Like It took place in the upstairs bar at Molloy’s pub, and the second I walked into the pub I was immersed into the world of the play. We were greeted at the door by the actors playing the Duke and Charles, a wrestler in the play, who stayed entirely in character for the twenty minutes we had to wait before we could go take a seat.
Once seated it felt as if we, the audience, were a part of the play itself. We were sat in one long row at pub style benches, and the play took place directly in front of us. Actors came up to wipe the tables, hand out post-it notes bearing love notes and some members of the audience were even recruited to step in as ‘Lord One’ and ‘Lord Two’ because the original actors had ‘gone home’. As the venue only held around twenty people it felt like a truly personal experience.
All the actors stayed in character, and were believable in their performance, and despite the sometimes tricky Shakespearean language, they all remembered their lines perfectly. The company was only a small one, with just seven cast members, however there are a great many more characters in As You Like It, and so some had multiple roles. This wasn’t jarring though, as they played each role with such strong personality that it was instantly obvious who they were in each scene, without even needing a dramatic costume change – just a extra hat, or change of shirt.
It was a lively and intimate performance full of jokes, songs and frivolity and it was impossible to leave without a smile on your face.
**** – 4 stars.
By Chloe Rogers