Shakespeare's romantic comedy As You Like It comes to The Barbican, putting the audience in the heart of the action!
‘Inventive, playful, captivating… a bonkers trip to the Forest of Arden’ ★★★★ Daily Telegraph
Here is the perfect thing for you if you’re looking for a renowned Shakespeare classic but with an imaginative spin! This romantic comedy is a joyous retelling that really cements the idea of the world being a stage and celebrating theatre as a whole. Book your tickets for As You Like It directed by Kimberley Sykes for its upcoming run at the Barbican beginning 26 October 2019 as part of the RSC's 2019-2020 season.
What is the plot of As You Like It?
As You Like It overthrows the traditional “rules” of romance. Politics, nature and gender roles are all confused in this play, but the one certainty is how mystifying yet completely gratifying life can be. It all begins with a journey into exile after Rosalind is banished but, on the upside, she does have her best friend Celia by her side. However, this isn’t before catching the eye of love-struck Orlando, who happens to have also been banished, forced out from the court and, into the Forest of Arden. This combination is the beginning of a disorderly mash-up of a cross-dressing heroine, a fool in tartan, with melodic songs and enough laughs to go around. As well as the physical comedy and music, there’s storytelling and puppetry, which make this reimagining of As You Like It playful and puts the audience right in the heart of the action.
Who are the creative team behind this production?
Directing will come from National Theatre Studio Directors Course graduate Kimberley Sykes. Her work as an assistant director includes The Amen Corner (National Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Royal Shakespeare Company/West End), City of Angels (Donmar Warehouse) and My Perfect Mind (The Young Vic). Her credits as a director include Lomki (Southwark Playhouse), SATB (Soho Theatre) and Dido; Queen of Carthage (Royal Shakespeare Company/Swan Theatre).
Completing the creative team is Stephen Brimson Lewis on set design, Bretta Gerecke on costumes and lighting, Tim Sutton on music, Jonathan Ruddick on sound, Ayse Tashkiran on movement, Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown on fights and Mervyn Millar on puppetry.
Let’s meet the As You Like It cast
Playing Orlando is David Ajao who has worked in various fields, including theatre, film, television and radio. Ajao regularly works on Royal Shakespeare Company productions, his previous works include Hecuba, Othello and The Merchant of Venice. Other theatre works include Barber Shop Chronicles (National Theatre/International Tour), Primetime (Royal Court) and Romeo and Juliet (Box Clever).
The role of Rosalind will be played by Lucy Phelps whose previous RSC credits include Julius Caesar, Antony & Cleopatra and Dido; Queen of Carthage. Her other theatre work includes Witness for the Prosecution (County Hall), Viva Forever! (Piccadilly Theatre) and Earthquakes in London (National Theatre). She has also worked in television on popular series such as Call the Midwife, Silent Witness and Skins.
Joining Ajao and Phelps in the cast are Charlotte Arrowsmith (Troilus and Cressida), Patrick Brennan (Hamlet, Downton Abbey), Richard Clews (Julius Caesar), Tom Dawze (The Soldier’s Tale) and Amelia Donkor (The 39 Steps). Completing the cast will be Laura Elsworthy, Sandy Grierson, Emily Johnstone, Karina Jones, Alex Jones, Sophie Khan Levy, Sophie Stanton, Aaron Thiara and Leo Wan.
As You Like It RSC Barbican tickets available now!
Come and see the usual rules of romance thrown aside in this retelling of a Shakespeare classic, and don't miss the other Shakespeare shows playing at the Barbican. Purchase your As You Like It tickets now to see Kimberley Sykes’ imaginative, playful and passionate rendition of this much-loved romantic comedy.
Gallery photo credits: Photos by Topher McGrillis (c) RSC
***Also part of the 2019-2020 RSC season at The Barbican are Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and The Taming of the Shrew.