What a clever idea of Director Megan Dansie and the Theatre Guild to run this delightful Shakespearean comedy al fresco in the pleasant courtyard by the Scott Theatre. Originally designed as a performance space in the 1960s and seldom used in this way since, the venue lends itself well to the play. The opening night audience, seated on the lawn, enjoyed a well-paced and funny romp through the cross-dressing tricks of Rosalind to snare her Orlando.
The cast easily projected well enough to reach all in the audience, pausing when necessary while an occasional plane passed overhead.
Jean Collins‘ Rosalind was sensational by any standard, and to think that she has only just completed high school, makes it all the more impressive. She had real presence, coupled with an obvious understanding of her character’s moods and meanings, and flawlessly drove the mistaken-identity plot. Opposite her was Matthew Chapman as Orlando. He was robust enough when it counted, and sensitive enough to be duped by his beloved. He definitely abetted Shakespeare’s need for us to stretch our disbelief in his comedies.
Others to impress in this well-chosen cast were Christina Devetzidis as Rosalind’s not always convinced ally, and Philip Lineton in the comic role of Corin. Guy Henderson as Touchstone, and Rebecca Kemp as his beloved Audrey added both pace and humour to their scenes.
The play itself certainly bears seeing, and the setting is a refreshing delight, as is the incidental guitar music composed and performed by Phil Short.