‘All the world’s a stage…

…and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.’

As You Like It may not be one of Shakespeare’s most popular or well known plays, but this comedy brought to life by Taking Flight Theatre company last night in Cardiff was full of laughter and excellent performances, and in my case, a very large dose of hayfever!

The venue? The beautiful Thompson Park in Canton where the promenade performance took us through the forest, up hills and all over the place really as we travelled along with the characters and the narrative. Taking Flight are a company which creates productions including both those with disabilities and those without, and the performance started with Hijinx Academy as part of the ensemble as the audience were encouraged to roll up and give it a go at the fairground, with fortune telling, a coconut shy, the whole experience!

The tale of As You Like It is full of romance, exile, fighting and comic timing, and there was never a dull moment, sometimes not knowing where to look as actors appeared in trees, over the hills, etc! The narrative itself was truly brought to life by a brilliant cast: with some fantastic facial expressions and reactions from the two cousins Rosalind and Celia (Alison Halstead and Lizzie Rogan)!

It was especially great how the BSL interpreter (Sami Thorpe) was included in the scenes, and the off the cuff moments where the cast embraced the company of the audience and those who just happened to be in the park were hilarious! A couple painting the scenery were shooed along so the rocks could be used by the actors and a gentleman trying to nap under the trees, quickly realised he’d chosen the wrong spot!

Although it could have maybe been cut a tiny bit, and the narrative proved a little wordy at times, the open air experience went down a storm with the audience. The scenery and performances combined created an evening full of laughter and good fun; Taking Flight proving their worth and really injecting their own personality in to Shakespeare’s writing!

As you like it continues to tour, next stop, Merthyr! Check out the Taking Flight website for more information!

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