Shakespeare’s As You Like It is one of his most endearing plays. The character Rosalind is the focus of this dance and physical theatre performance from James Cousins Company. Rosalind features four performers (Chihiro Kawasaki, Heejung Kim, Gareth Mole and Ryan Taylor) and is a collaborative piece presented by the London based dance theatre organisation The Place.
The set design is one of the first things that you will notice during the performance. A large cube is centre stage (possibly representing The Forest of Arden that Rosalind flees to in the original play) and when the stage lights go down, bright, white neon lights shine from the perimeter of the cube. Space and how people occupy that space is one of the focuses of the show. The performers move in and out of this cube and and present the turmoil and confusion of the protagonist. Music is also a major theme, where a subtle droning soundscape lurks behind the extravagant movement that is on display. Loud rock music is also the occasional soundtrack and when this is abruptly disturbed by the light and easy jazz of the Ella Fitzgerald track You Don’t Know Me, the effect is startling and it instantly grabs the attention of the audience.
The psychology of Rosalind is presented through poetry which is played out over the P.A. Here we witness her complicated existence and how she navigates the physical and psychological space. In Shakespeare’s original Rosalind flees the court of her uncle by taking on the persona of a young boy. This confusion and turmoil is presented on stage, where Rosalind questions her own identity.
Rosalind is an interesting physical piece where the dancers give their all. It’s an exhausting show that keeps the audience gripped and allows you to indulge yourself within the evocative movement of the dancers.