Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It” is at the Indianapolis Repertory Theatre in a well thought out, warmly and passionately presented production. Directors David Hochoy and Janet Allen have brought together their backgrounds in choreogoraphy and research to their mutual benefit. There are some wonderful dance and movement sequences, but clearly the choreography and the overall direction meld.
Music and Soundscape composer Michael Keck’s score leans on the resources of world music for melodies, rhythms, effects and atmospheres. Occasionally the music threatened to overwhelm the play, but most of the time it creatively and often surprisingly supported the action.
William Bloodgood’s elegantly simple design was artfully coupled with Laura Glover’s lighting. The costumes by Lydia Tanji fitted both situations and seasons. They reflected the rigidity of the court and the relaxation of the country, the chill of the winter and the warmth of the return of spring.
Andrew Navarro was passionate and impulsive as the misused younger son of Sr. Rowland de Boys. Matt D’Amico was appropriately nasty as the elder misuser. Gail Rastorfer was a cross-dressing charmer in her doublet and hose. She was ably seconded by partner in adventure Milicent Wright as Celia. Wiley Morris was as attractively easy and amiable as a shepherd as he was as a lord. Robert Johansen was funnier than even I had thought Touchstone could be. When he was paired with the elegant and ultra-flexible Crystal Roberts it was a sight to see.
“ As You Like it” comes from the middle period of Shakespeare’s writing, when the poetry, the plot and the characters were in dynamic balance. However, it’s the language that brings us back to the theatre. The IRT’s players have such respect for the words that diction is exemplary. Especially in the second act, the wit and humor simply bubble over.
The Indianapolis Repertory Theatre’s production of “As You Like It” plays on the main stage through April 19th.