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As we liked it – Review of Third Wall’s As You Like it

By Karen Diepeveen on February 8, 2010

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Photo courtesy the Third Wall Theatre Company website.

Photo courtesy the Third Wall Theatre Company website.

Shakespeare is always good for a laugh. But to be able to pull off Shakespeare’s cutting wit – and do it well – can be a bit of a challenge. Just ask Greg and Peter from my English 12 class – their rendition of the banter between Dromio and Antipholus of Syracuse was more error than comedy.

Thankfully, those at Third Wall Theatre Company have graduated far beyond any painful high school performances. In fact, their current performance, As You Like It, is a modern interpretation that pulls off the Bard’s humour rather well.

The minimal set and few props creates a scene that doesn’t distract from the rest of the play. They’ve chosen to feature a boxing ring as the focal point of the set, starting off As You Like It’s infamous fight scene in a bit more of a modern context. This boxing match has it all – scantily clad women, loud music, flashing lights and yes, a real-honest-to-goodness wrestler. For his acting debut, former CFL player and Gretzky bodyguard Glenn Kulka pulls it off rather well, no doubt using the same theatrical skills he picked up while with the WWF.

The play fades a little after the over-the-top fight scene, but keeps its energy going and the audience stayed engaged. The actors didn’t rush the performance or their lines, and the soliloquies were appropriately captivating (this is the play where you’ll find the famous quote, “All the world’s a stage…” – well done here by Scott Wilson as Jacques). Kristina Watt as Rosalind was delightfully sharp as the woman playing a man playing a woman (so many twists and turns!).

Trying to carry the modern feel of the fight scene throughout the play, the music between scenes was of the likes of Nickleback and Lady Gaga; this, however, seemed a little disjointed near the end of the play when the fight scene had long passed and the play had returned to a more renaissance atmosphere.

Overall, it was an entertaining evening. My fellow reviewer and I were both impressed with the performance, and not just because there was a pro-wrestler on in the cast. Although that definitely helped.

As You Like It is playing at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre (1233 Wellington West) until Feb 14. Check out the Third Wall website for tickets.

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