Blanche McIntyre, whose revival of As You Like It now at the Globe, uses every trick in the book to make Shakespeare’s play clear (it is, very), risqué (it is, very), engaging (it is, almost always) and funny (it is, often). There is music, dancing, cross-dressing, the carcass of a deer, lusty jostling, a tap-dancing clown, and a cross-dressing God of Marriage. There is much for the groundlings to delight in, as well as a few “oohs” and “awws”.
It’s a symphony of wit and wisdom wrapped up in a puzzle, a puzzle which is shattered and then, like a fiendishly difficult jigsaw puzzle, is put back together piece by piece. There are no unanswered questions at the end, no conundrums to ponder about the narrative. Stoppard ensures that everything works and that the humour and humanity of the piece is the lasting impression.