17 June 2005

As You Like It

Oh I really should be outside, it's a beautiful midsummer evening and I'm thinking a g&t in the garden is most certainly in order. But it's quite in keeping with the skittish mood I'm in to blog about AYLI at the Wyndham's Theatre.
The WT couldn't be more West End if it tried, it's smack in the middle of touristical, theatreland-y London. You fall out of Leicester Square tube into the foyer. Unless, that is, you're an idiot and get out at Covent Garden at 7.20, thinking it'll save you some precious seconds to take the lift there and sprint down Long Acre, seeing as the tickets are booked in your name, no latecomers admitted.
There was barely enough time to say hi to R and J, hand over the plastic, buy peanuts and water and do the necessary in the conveniences before, with a hey nonny, Orlando was on having a right old moan about his brother.
It took me a while to settle in to David Lan's production. It's set in 40's France and clearly late on in that decade, since there are no bombs or Nazis or massacres, but I've been reading a deal about WW2 in France lately, and the ominous notes in the first few scenes unnerved me - I was ready for explosions, tank battles, the lot.
But Helen McCrory's Rosalind is a wonderful thing, and little by little I fell under the spell of the play. I found the comedy a little forced at times, a little programmatical. R's very right, if you're going to cast proper comedians - in this case, Sean Hughes and Reece Shearsmith - you should give them their head and let them improvise. Where possible, anyway. And actually, RS gave a v good Seven Ages speech.
Our friend Sam Kenyon was of course lovely and bright and sang beautifully as Amiens. We had dinner with him after at a cafe right beside the stage door, so we could see the photographers and autograph hunters milling about...
Because of course there was Sienna Miller. In the play, as Celia. In little round glasses! And plaits! And smoking cheroots, smiling her lovely smile, and generally being a wonderful foil for a wonderful Rosalind. You must forgive, but I swooned. Sure, she looks great in all the fashion mags, with her boho chic down to a t, but give me her Celia any day of the week.

Now it really is g&t time, under the greenwood tree...

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