Thursday, August 27, 2009

As You Like It

Photo: The Queens Company

Extraordinarily well directed by Greg Cicchino, this Queens Players production of Shakespeare's comedy triumphs. While historical opinions on the play have varied, we can safely say, reinforced by the elastic Claire Morrison's animated and expert performance, that Rosalind is one of Shakespeare's most fully realized and interesting female characters. If, as the clown Touchstone lectures, "The truest poetry is the most feigning," it is nonetheless the rhymes carved in the trees by Rosalind's swain, the passionate, lovelorn Orlando (the effective Anthony Martinez), that keep hope burning, not to mention the story. Director Greg Cicchino has a gift for focusing his actors' strengths, and for creating moments of unscripted, silent humor that move the action swiftly along. From his fine cast he draws out a number of standout performances in the smaller roles as well as the leads; indeed, despite the dominance of the Rosalind-Orlando storyline, the production is the very model of a modern ensemble piece. Leave it to Shakespeare, in the loving and crafty hands of a director like Mr. Cicchino, to bring to glorious life the human tapestry in all its poetic good cheer under the rumbling elevated trains of Long Island City. Read the full review.

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