As You Like It: A Review
Theatre Erindale reminds us why Shakespeare is still performed 300 years later in As You Like It.

Maybe it’s the former theatre kid in me or perhaps it’s my English major, but when I learned that Theatre Erindale was putting on William Shakespeare’s As You Like It this season, I was elated. The sold out high-energy opening night had the audience buzzing in anticipation. I even overheard a fellow audience member exclaim how much she loves Shakespeare. You may recall the stuffy Shakespeare readings that we had to do throughout high school, but Theatre Erindale’s production proves that the Bard’s work truly needs to be experienced rather than simply read. 

Directed by Stewart Arnott, As You Like It boasts an ensemble cast whose versatility and talent blew me away. In Shakespearean times, it was illegal for women to perform in plays, therefore men took on all roles. Theatre Erindale flipped this old tradition with an all-female cast, which highlights the gender fluidity within Shakespeare’s work. 

Many performers not only took on multiple diverse roles but had to continue a series of elaborate quick changes throughout the play. Mia Pagliaroli initially took the stage as the old loyal servant, Adam, but quickly transformed into the outrageous gossiper, Le Beau, before completing the play as the reluctant love of Silvius’ (Emma Coulson) life, Phoebe. Meaghan Dias switched between the fool, Touchstone, and the beautiful songstress, Amiens. Janae Fairclough’s scene-stealing performance as the wrestler, Charles, was outstandingly different from her performance as both Duke Senior and the shepherd Corin. I was even a little envious of Zoë Bonk for when the actor was not playing Oliver, she was Jacques, responsible for speaking one of the most famous lines in all of Shakespeare’s works, “All the world is a stage.” The same actor performing as multiple characters seems inherent to the play as Rosalind (Allie Waddell) and Celia (Abby Guse) assume a second identity for most of the play, with Rosalind taking on the role of a man. While every member of the cast gave an amazing performance, Kaleigh Croft’s role as the plucky and lovelorn Orlando stands out as endearing and a delight to witness. True to any Shakespearean comedy, As You Like It is a love story full of witty and sharp dialogue that’s delivered expertly by the cast.

The beautifully designed set was the perfect visual backdrop for this pastoral play. I was particularly impressed when the stage transformed from a villa to a forest. Every technical piece of the play, from set design to the Celtic musical interludes to Orlando’s coveralls and work boots, worked harmoniously to honour and modernize the 300-year-old play. Every member of the cast and crew of As You Like It should be proud of what they accomplished with this production.

As You Like It runs until March 30. I highly recommend the show. I have seen quite a few Theatre Erindale productions over the last few seasons, and I can confidently say that As You Like It is my absolute favourite. The cast’s ability to transform themselves into such diverse characters while in a play written in Elizabethan English was fresh and entertaining. The comedic delivery was outstanding, and based on the audience’s reactions throughout the evening, I wasn’t the only one who thought it was hilarious. 

Thank you to Theatre Erindale for reminding everyone why Shakespeare should still be performed and bravo to the cast and crew of the triumphant production of As You Like It!

Theatre Erindale Correspondent (Volume 50); Associate Arts & Entertainment Editor (Volume 49) — Megan is majoring in English with minors in Creative Writing and History. She served as Associate Arts & Entertainment Editor for Volume 49. Her love of the arts and experience in theatre and music are the backbone of Megan’s work with The Medium. Aside from her academics and journalistic endeavours, Megan can be found writing original music for streaming platforms, playing her pink Fender Jazz Bass, writing spooky detective stories, longing for the mountains of BC, and watching Disney+. Her preferred instruments of writing are her notes app and her 1970s Erika typewriter. You can connect with Megan on InstagramX, and LinkedIn.


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