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As You Like It

Directors Ellen Geer and Melora Marshall set this evergreen Shakespearean comedy in the years after the American Civil War, but, fortunately, they apply the concept with a light, tactful hand. It serves to plant the action in a recognizable time and place, and allows inclusion of period songs (“Aura Lee,” “Old Dog Tray” and “Turkey in the Straw”), but there’s no attempt to brand the characters as Rebels or Yankees. Theatricum Botanicum’s wooded, outdoor amphitheater is an ideal setting, with the occasional squirrel or hummingbird adding atmosphere. The production is brisk, colorful and athletic, highlighting comedy rather than lyricism. Willow Geer provides an energetic and exuberant (albeit occasionally shrill) Rosalind, Mike Peebler is a sturdy, manly Orlando, and Samara Frame is a giggly but loyal Celia. The old servant Adam undergoes a sex change, as acted with appealing simplicity by Marshall, while Earnestine Phillips (in male drag) brings an earthy touch to the melancholy Jaques. Some lesser roles are perfunctorily performed, but David Pintado and Natalie Jones make a lively Silvius and Phoebe. Ameena Maria Khawaja’s musical direction, Peebler’s exciting fight choreography and Shon LeBlanc’s handsome costumes add to the fun.
Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: June 1. Continues through Sept. 28, 2008

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