The company of As You Like It. Photo: Melissa Passons Photography.

As You Like It

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Mollie Frances Murk

A review by Regina Harris

Entire contents are copyright ©2024 by Regina Harris. All rights reserved. 

Sometimes when a theatrical production is struggling in rehearsal and the actors are too much “in their heads,” directors will remind them to relax and have fun with it because “…that’s why it’s called a play.” This was not an issue with three witches shakespeare company’s production of As You Like It at Play Sunday night. Making their directorial debut, Mollie Frances Murk will not have had to remind this lively cast to have fun with it; under their direction, the energy the actors brought to the stage was returned to them manyfold during the evening. 

The choice of venue was brilliant – who could not have fun at a place called Play? With glitter balls overhead throwing light everywhere, the cast used every bit of the space, exuberantly romping from one end to the other, including one character climbing a column with ease. They expanded the relatively small place with their pure joy and clear understanding of the text, squeezing the most out of every snide joke and double-entendre. From the back of the theatre, it was impossible to see some of the action that took place on the floor since the seats were not on risers, but if the delight of the audience was any indication, it was a riot of physical comedy. There was one downside to the space – the other side of the Play bar opened about halfway through the second act, so the loud dance club music provided a bit of a challenge for actors to speak above and a distraction to the audience but I’m sure all parties did their best to work around that unfortunate timing.

The choice of setting the Forest of Arden in a Western theme lesbian bar was an interesting one: a wild but safe space where the patrons make their own rules and feel free to just be who they are, with no judgment. This lent an undertone of relaxation in the otherwise boisterous atmosphere, and I think I can say the audience appreciated it.

Vic León as Orlando stood out in a cast of many excellent actors. That he loved and embraced this role was fully evident. Brooke Morrison as Rosalind was the perfectly animated counterpart to León’s expansive Orlando. Georgette Kleier’s performance as Adam was touching; she provided a calm balance to the overall production as did Clarity Hagan’s musical accompaniment with their clear vocals and soulful guitar. Each actor brought something of their own to the table and there was not a weak performance among them; together they created a blowout of a party that it would be sad to miss. 

Director Murk says in their director’s notes that they hoped by the end, the viewer felt as much friendship with each unique cast member as they did, and I believe that mission was accomplished. Murk, their cast, and their creative team produced an exceptional event that I hope you already have tickets for because if the run is not already sold out, it’s getting close. Yeehaw!

Featuring Brooke Morrison, Vic León, Tory Parker, Ashley Nicole Cabrera, Erica McClure, Tessa McShane, Kimberly Ding, Rachel Molly, Adama Abramson, Clarity Hagan, Rachel Meadors, Georgette Kleier & Jessica De La Rosa. 

As You Like It

March 15, 17, 18, 20, 22, 23, 24 @ 7:00 p.m.

Play Louisville
1101 E. Washington Street 
Louisville, KY  40206

Regina Harris has lived in Louisville for nearly three decades and has worked for many of its theatre companies and venues in various capacities. She holds a degree in Humanities from the University of Louisville and works as a Youth  Development Specialist at United Crescent Hill Ministries. To express her love for great food as well as Louisville history and architecture, she is a guide with Louisville Food Tours.