AT its best, As You Like It is one of Shakespeare’s funniest works.
Unfortunately, this is not the play at its best.
Dorothea Myer-Bennett as Rosalind and Jack Wharrier as Orlando put in attractive performances as the central love-struck characters, and they have some good support, notably from Daisy May as Celia and Chris Bianchi as both Duke Senior and Duke Frederick.
Paul Currier also puts in a very good performance as Jaques – who utters the famed “all the world’s a stage...”
But the production lacks the vibrancy you would hope for and fails to extract the full humour from the script.
At several points while monologues were being delivered, other members of the cast were standing around looking on with little expression or reaction, which was distracting and not what you would expect from a company with the reputation of the Tobacco Factory.
At other times they are trying overly hard to lift the play and get the laughs, which seemed forced and unnatural.
Vic Llewellyn isn’t well cast as Touchstone and some of the more bawdy lines inspired discomfort and distaste rather than laughter.
The play could also have benefited from being cropped a little.
There were moments of inspiration and hints of humour but they couldn’t sustain this rather flat production for three hours.