What catches you off guard when you visit the Pop-Up Globe isn’t the burst of faux vomit, in the middle of As You Like It, from the priest’s mouth sprayed far and wide into the crowd, but rather how tangible and alive the space is.
Like a house creaking as it cools down into night, the theatre creaks and groans with stragglers climbing the scaffold to take their seats with the first Act well underway. Michael Mahony begins this first Act as he means to go on, irreverently as possible, quickly building a great rapport with the audience.
As You Like It features a raft of wonderful performances, held together by Jonathan Tynan-Moss’ and Stanley Andrew Jackson III’s respective performances as Rosalind and Celia. Jonathan’s turn as Rosalind was particularly brilliant, engaging the audience whether a scene called for larks or emotion.
There’s a compelling tension underlying the stellar work on display. True to the tradition of when Shakespeare was being first performed, the cast of As You Like It are all male, yet this version of the play they’ve staged feels very contemporary.
Beyond the pop culture references and other script tweaks, there’s an experimental and playful tone to it that gives the show a palpable modern sensibility. However, while the japes are fun to look at, there’s great storytelling and commitment being shown – even from the sheep (you’ll understand when you go).
You may have seen theatre live, but not like this. Whether you’re ‘lucky’ enough to be picked to go up on stage for a light bit of audience interaction, or you’re seated up high overseeing the action, this cast and story will reach you. Lovely stuff!
As You Like It
Pop Up Globe – Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Linlithgow Avenue, Melbourne
Performance: Thursday 2 November 2017 – 7.30pm
Season currently playing to 3 February 2018
Information and Bookings: www.popupglobe.com.au
Image: The Cast of As You Like It – photo by Jay Wennington
Review: David Collins