Theater review: Shakespeare in the Park’s ‘As You Like It’

Shepherdess Phoebe (Susannah Flood) berates her suitor; visit www.publictheater.org for info about “As You Like It.”

Celebrating 50 years in Central Park, The Public Theater is shaking things up at the Delacorte. Unlike in recent years, where two Shakespearean works played in repertory, this year the company is pairing a solo run of “As You Like It” with Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” later in the summer. But this production is more than strong enough to hold its own, with a stellar cast led by director Daniel Sullivan and a truly breathtaking set by John Lee Beatty that magically transforms from towering fortress to enchanted forest.

Lily Rabe showcases the cat-and-mouse gamesmanship undertaken by the love-struck heroine, Rosalind. Her sidekick Celia (Renee Elise Goldsberry) is an overworked wingwoman who just barely keeps her tongue. Oliver Platt avoids the trap of acting too outlandish, and his Touchstone is a knowing fool. David Furr’s Orlando is best when set against the firebrand Rosalind, but he’s surprisingly tender when he strives to repay a lifetime’s servitude to his ailing, elderly aid. Two of the best performances come from smaller parts, the penetratingly cynical Jaques (Stephen Spinella) and the scornful Phoebe (Susannah Flood), a first-edition mean girl. Throughout, a roving bluegrass band underscores the plot’s exultations and setbacks with mood-perfect music by Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin).

At our performance, there was a noticeable amount of children in attendance who raptly and ably followed the twists and turns of the plot. Shakespeare, when it’s done well, should always be this accessible and simple — but make no mistake, the mastery behind the scenes here is palpable, it’s just tucked in cleanly at the seams so that all that’s left is exactly “As You Like It.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

The Word

The Word: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie finally…

Well, everybody, it finally happened. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie went and got themselves hitched — according to noted scandal sheet the Associated Press —…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

NFL

Giants vs. Patriots: 3 things to watch

The Giants wrap up their extended preseason campaign Thursday night by playing host to the Patriots.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…