Review: As You Like It at the Davis Shakespeare Festival
Davis Shakespeare’s As You Like It is basically a romantic romp in the forest involving four pairs of young lovers, with lots of live music, as these likable couples figure out their relationships in a pastoral setting (ostensibly the Forest of Arden, though one character wears a T-shirt promoting Muir Woods National Monument).
There is plenty of humor, much of it involving the enterprising Rosalind (Andrea J. Love, seen in shows at Davis Shakes and Capital Stage). Rosalind decides to disguise herself as a smooth-faced young man (Ganymede)—in this production she becomes an androgynous keyboard player whose look suggests David Bowie (if you remember the ‘70s) or Ruby Rose (if you’re a millennial). Soon she (as Ganymede) is tutoring her dream date Orlando (nicely played by Bay Area actor Steven Ho) in the ways of wooing.
Director Rob Salas has fun staging these lighthearted antics, but Salas is also interested in the young lovers’ personal growth as they transition from giddy infatuation into a deeper, lasting relationship.
The show benefits greatly from abundant live music in a folky vein by singer/guitarist/composer Timothy Nutter. His contributions sustain the mood and frame the production beautifully.