Review by Danny Gaisin
Joke:- Do you know how Les Canadiens™ came about? Seems a ‘Newfie’ was playing hockey on the St. Lawrence … and got a breakaway!!! Rationale for the above: –Jillian Keiley’s locale setting for “AS YOU LIKE IT” circa 1980, and its only one of numerous surprises that Madame Director has in store for her Stratford audience. A dress code; seeing the cast-members performing on stage before curtain; a goody bag of items needed during the performance; requisite audience participation under strict direction and the play is a semi-musical! ***All Stratford photos by David Hou
Keiley’s focus is fully on the humorous aspect of the plots, both starring and support; as well as her cast-members talent for comedy. The costuming; colloquial idioms; accents and stereotypes all add to the hilarity that is continual. Her directorial flair seems to be detail. The dramatically funny asides; the symbolisms; tempi; posturing; and even the meter all reflect on her thankfully almost-obsessive theatrical demeanor…she’s immaculate! Watch for the ice cream nibbling and the ‘hold the dinghy painter’ bits that involve random audiencers!
The major love story is that of Orlando and his Rosalind. Cyrus Lane is the hero and he renders a charismatic personable characterization. But he’s up against Petrina Bromley as Rosalind and she’s dynamite. An amazingly mobile & expressive face with the precise sense of timing worthy of an improv stand-up; she owns the show. Hint: – don’t miss her this fall in another NFLD-oriented show: “Come From Away”. The Abbott to her Costello character is hilariously rendered by Trish Lindström whose teenaged girl shenanigans are manifested with every aspect of stance; motion and perfectly-timed reactions that absolutely ring of authenticity.
A notable coupling is the Silvius/Pheobe duo of Jamie Mac and Ijeoma Emesowum who exhibit a remarkable chemistry. Their developing relationship is underscored by her titillating queried expressions to the audience. There is strong support from such secondary roles such as Sanjay Talwar’s Touchstone and Scott Wentworth’s Duke Frederick. The master (mistress) of ceremonies cum Audience director is Robin Hutton and she is a hoot. Whether singing; conversing or manipulating the folks in the orchestra seats or even the balcony- even gets on board. It’s obvious she’s a Sheridan grad.
Some of the best quotes especially those about ’Loving a duck’ or “Sucking eggs” are all delivered with a droll straight face. The difficulty for those familiar with the original comedy will be refraining from recitation of the ‘All the world’s a stage…’ or ‘thereby hangs a tale’ monologues which are dramatically expressed.
“AS YOU LIKE IT” and you will if you are prepared to come with an open mind. More than just entertainment; it will be an experience. It was for us and is at the Festival Theatre until Oct. 22nd.
BTW, Met the Forbes duo from Rochester, N.Y. who have already seen “Hamilton” on Broadway -their suggestion – put your names down now for some 2019 tickets.