The following is from the Jan. 19, 2008, edition of The Dallas Morning News. The cast includes SMU theater students.
By LAWSON TAITTE
ADDISON – As You Like It may be Shakespeare's richest, most resonant comedy, and you're not likely to see a more satisfying version of it than the one that opened Friday at WaterTower Theatre.
In the company's first experiment with the Bard, director Terry Martin clarifies the language and the characterization so thoroughly that anyone can comprehend the story. This sometimes slows the pace to the extent that the play's quicksilver rhythms are lost. You get a whole stage full of great performances in compensation.
The basic plot is simple enough. All the good characters are driven from the court out into the forest – which in this production is a Louisiana swamp. The usurping Duke (R Bruce Elliott) banishes his innocent niece Rosalind (Lydia Mackay), and his own daughter Celia (Ariel Woodiwiss) goes with her out of love. A wicked older brother (Matt Oliver) wants to kill the noble Orlando (Dan Forsythe), so off Orlando goes, too. . .
This is a co-production with Southern Methodist University, and Ms. Mackay and Ms. Woodiwiss lead a strong contingent of SMU actors. Dennis Cavalier's original songs and C. Nicholas Morris' choreography contribute substantially, as well. Including the ceremonial figure of Hymen in the last scene and concluding the show with a big general dance help turn this into a very long evening – but such things demonstrate faith in the play Shakespeare wrote.
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