By SAM GRAYDON
I recently went to see Polly Findlay’s much-acclaimed version of As You Like It at the National Theatre. On stage as we took our seats were garishly coloured carpeting, desks, chairs and pot plants: every scene of Act One was set in an office. We were perhaps to conclude that City workers were modern society’s aristocracy, but overall this staging added little to the play – in some places it was even detrimental. The wrestling scene (featuring heavy metal and a neon blue lucha libre outfit) was not just inconsistent with the office furniture but also physically constrained by it. That said, as the action moved to the Forest of Arden, the tables and chairs played a crucial part in a very impressive set-change.
In fact, it was so impressive it didn’t work. The performance was stopped for ten minutes so that a technical problem could be dealt with.