'As You Like It' At Stratford-on-Avon

As You Like It, the fourth production of the season at the Royal Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon, opened last week with a gay, lyrical production by David Jones that is excellent in its comedy and romance , and has an underlying seriousness, in the contrasting of the gravity and sanity of Jaques and the purposeful wit of Touchstone with the various degrees of simple honesty, triviality, falseness and thoroughgoing bad of other characters.

In attractive settings by Timothy O'Brien, and the songs charmingly, sometimes touchingly sung, the production is particularly well knit and smooth in development. Fresh feeling for the play abounds, not least in a lovely performance of Rosalind by Dorothy Tutin, who is brilliant in the scenes in the forest with Orlando, but always a Rosalind of significance, in whom one's interest never flags. Michael Williams is also outstanding, as Orlando, his beautiful speaking being perfectly allied to a meaningful interpretation.

There is a striking Jaques by Alan Howard, one of the best players in the Company, and work of considerable merit in itself and of value to the production as a whole by Charles Thomas as Oliver, Morgan Sheppard as Duke Frederick, Janet Suzman as Celia, though Miss Suzman was not always completely audible on the opening night, Tim Wylton as William and June Watts as Phoebe. And Roy Kinnear is a hilarious Touchstone as he builds up an uncommonly full and rounded character of considerable depth.


The Stage and Television Today, 22.6.1967


Playing Shakespeare/As You Like It