I’ve just had the most amazing evening! It began with early dinner at a favourite restaurant, TAS in The Cut, the sort of meal you have at 5.30pm because you’re going to the theatre. It was wonderful but I’m not here to tell you what I had to eat – or drink! However, rather more full than was comfortable we walked from there to the National Theatre to see Shakespeare's 'As You Like It' at the Olivier. It was a first for me, the play not the theatre. Before we went in I couldn’t resist taking this photo from the balcony.
We had circle seats and a wonderful view onto the stage which was startlingly colourful in a way I can’t even begin to describe - but I’ll try. The floor was covered in large bright squares of red, yellow and green, and the semi-circular backdrop was lined with computer screens and desks, at which were sitting several of the cast wearing yellow jackets, almost like those in a holiday camp. Towards the front were chairs and tables like small trestles, laid out café style.
At the end of the first scene the lights dimmed, the brightly coloured floor slid backwards and everything else, computers, desks, tables and chairs, slowly lifted to take the form of a dark forest. A bit of imagination was required here but it wasn’t an impossible shift to see these tall angled objects as trees. Anyway, see what you think. I was able to take this photo because there was a slight hitch and they had to interrupt the performance for about ten minutes.
The comedy was delicious, the skill of the writer unsurpassed, the story as fresh today as it must have been some four hundred and fifty years ago. What was also first class was the standard of the actors (there was only one I was a little disappointed with) and the superb production. Rosalie Craig's Rosalind and Joe Bannister's Orlando were excellent but for me the star of the show was Patsy Ferran playing Celia. What an amazing talent!
I know one isn’t supposed to take photos in the theatre and I wouldn’t dream of doing so during a performance but I just couldn’t resist taking this one at the end.
I couldn’t quite shake off my writerly head though it in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the evening. If anything it enhanced it as I watched the skill with which the master carried out his twists and turns, a thread here, a diversion there, and the whole coming together with such apparent ease. I probably won’t sleep tonight. I don’t mind.
The show runs until 5th March 2016. You won't be surprised to know that I thoroughly recommend it if you have the opportunity to go.