A 12 women strong acting troupe, in a wonderful female acting space, the Muse Clinic is off Darlinghurst’s Oxford Street, and the décor has delightful quirky little feminine touches. This 40 odd seating space consists of two long rows of folding chairs affronting a very long narrow flat stage area.
Architecture aside, the SheShakespeare production of As You Like It features young, enthusiastic, talented women, beautiful and fresh faced, playing 20 roles between them, and jovial older actor Emma Louise (Adam/Audrey). The actors readily take on masculine roles with hilarious, tongue in cheek, charming machismo.
This feminine perspective interpretation of As You Like It has a strong musical element, opening with an all cast singing and dancing routine, acoustic guitar accompaniment and the beautiful, pure voice of Conservatorium trained Prudence Holloway (Charles/Amiens). Holloway, a regular in the Sydney music scene with her acoustic music duo, MU, leads audience singalong and hand clapping throughout the show, and cleverly instructs us to turn off our mobiles at the start and at interval to go get a drink, all in song, like a troubadour of the time.
The plot is easy to follow for fans of The Bard and those with the ability to decipher 16th Century Shakespearean English prose but there are contemporary touches, like an Aldi shopping bag and a scene where characters smoke a spliff in the forest.
Best of all would be the amount of eye contact between actors and audience during this intimate show, where the divide is broken down and a sisterly comradery inclusiveness fostered. This debut production is a must see.
Until Nov 4. MUSE Clinic, 155 Little Oxford St, Darlinghurst. $20-$38. Tickets & Info: www.sheshakespeare.com
Reviewed by Mel Somerville.