As You Like It Reviews
Chicago Tribune- Highly Recommended
"...Sure, you don't get the whole play, but you don't miss the rest (and rest assured it is still there for next time). The show finds just the right self-referential tone: characters say they are going to go hide "because it's Shakespeare." But unlike so many other textual mashups at this and other theaters, this one comes with a remarkable sense of unity, as if you can't quite tell where the Bard is ending and contemporary lines beginning."
Chicago Sun Times- Recommended
"...The Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Beatles-themed rendition of "As You Like It" is exactly that - joyous and irreverent, and entirely in the spirit of the Bard. Conceived and adapted by Daniel Cloran for the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, and directed by Cloran here in Chicago, this technicolor jukebox musical is set in the '60s and highlights a winning combination of the Beatles' greatest hits with humor. Audiences are eager for light-hearted entertainment, and this delivers, in an environment that encourages public safety - vaccine cards and IDs are checked at the door."
Daily Herald- Recommended
"...Numbers like Quealy and Renee's charming "Can't Buy Me Love," Brezill and Carter's "Good Day Sunshine" duet and Quealy's giddy "Do You Want to Know a Secret" -- had the audience clapping, swaying and singing along."
Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended
"...This production of As You Like It, adapted and directed by Daryl Cloran and conceived as part of the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in Vancouver, Canada, is a delightful celebration of life and love. It is a self-aware production that knows what it is, a fun ride interested less in plot than in the joy of the journey. Renee shines with vivacity as Rosalind, the most central character of the play. Her beautiful duet with Brezill's plucky Celia of "We Can Work it Out" at the opening of Act 1 brings new relevance to this song. They reunite for a duet in Act 2 with the lovely but more on the nose "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," a satisfying collusion of Beatles lyrics and Shakespearean plot. While Renee's acting and vocals are on point, she's not the musical center of the show, singing in about half of the songs."
Chicago On the Aisle- Highly Recommended
"...If the byword of staging Shakespeare’s plays is “the text first,” a production that weaves in two dozen Beatles songs, while freely truncating the text, might fall somewhere between a rolling of the dice and a rolling of the eyes. Yet in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s wacky take on “As You Like It,” a stellar company, everybody from actors to designers and I dare say set painters, has created an irresistible winner that deserves to pack ’em in, well, “Eight Days a Week.”"
Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended
"...The highest compliment we can deliver to this version of As You Like It is that it works. Excluding the first few minutes, there is no self indulgent comic shtick. The play necessarily is trimmed to accommodate the musical infusions; first timer viewers initially may have trouble at times following the story, but the adaptation preserves all the famous material in the original, like Jaques’s “seven ages of man” speech and popular quotations (“rhyme or reason”). The audience laughed at Shakespeare’s humor and adored the Beatles music, for all its familiarity. All in all, a good time was had by people on both sides of the footlights."
Splash Magazine- Somewhat Recommended
"...For me, though, the music was a hindrance, not a help, to enjoying the story. There's something jarring about switching rapidly and regularly from "prithee" and "thou" to "hey" and "yeah" and back again on an infinite loop. In their performances for students, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre talks about waiting for your ear to attune itself to the Shakespearean language the way you would accustom yourself to hearing a foreign language; with this play, such attuning is entirely impossible. It makes me wonder if, ironically, the addition of recent music has actually made the story less accessible to those unfamiliar with Shakespeare."
Let's Play at ChicagoNow- Highly Recommended
"...As You Like It blends Shakespeare’s poetry and hits songs of The Beatles to perfection. We get to relive songs like, Let It Be, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Can’t Buy Me, Love, Here Comes the Sun, I Am The Walrus, and All You Need Is Love. Pairing these two together and the hippie’s environment with colorful psychedelic outfits makes this romantic comedy a hit! It also provided that 60’s hangout and relax vibe with the classic VW van decked out with its Hippie artwork and the band featured on stage and throughout the play."
Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended
"...They have interspersed 20 Beatles songs to bring this story to life. They have also brought us to a different time period in history ( the 60’s) where love can triumph over all. The story is about brother versus brother. In order to not be killed or betrayed, he leaves in search of freedom from threat. Orlando ( Liam Quealy is perfect) would prefer staying with the love of his life, Rosiland ( played to perfection by Lakeisha Renee). As it turns out, she decides to seek him out, and to do so, dresses and pretends to be a man. She travels with her cousin Celia ( a delightful Melanie Brezill) who later finds love in all the wrong places as well."
NewCity Chicago- Highly Recommended
"...A pastoral comedy is just what the doctor ordered to ease our way out of our recent confinement. Chicago Shakespeare Theater obliges with its bright, energetic tale of souls fleeing death and duplicity and finding peace and love in the woods, "As You Like It." But it's not all Shakespeare. This production is a mingled yarn of the Elizabethan comedy classic and twenty-four songs by The Beatles. The action still takes place in the enchanting Forest of Arden, although the enchantment this round is the Magical Mystery variety, complete with a flower-powdered VW bus and a Peter Max-colored stage. The main props on stage are tree trunks, so magic mushrooms must be near. Like the verse in the play, the selection of Beatles' songs mostly ply the fields of love, but stray, too, to other topics, such as money, sunshine, loneliness (banishment) and foolishness."
WTTW- Highly Recommended
"...The production is the first to arrive on a Chicago Shakespeare Theater stage since the start of the pandemic, and it easily woos its happily returning live audience by way of an ingenious riff on a classic. Initially devised and produced in Canada, it now features a dynamite, multi-talented (mostly Chicago-based) cast and band whose energy level can barely be contained."
Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended
"...This is an event that really should not be missed. Daryl Cloran's adaptation and lively production is loads of fun for the entire family. Besides a cast of gifted actor/singers the play is big on comedy, romance, action and features a lovely, lilting score by the Beatles that'll keep toes tapping and bodies swaying. By the final curtain, audiences will surely agree that "All You Need is Love.""
The Fourth Walsh- Highly Recommended
"...AS YOU LIKE IT is the perfect combo of story, music, players and designers. This is what joy sounds and looks like! And full disclosure, I'm not even a big Beatles' fan. Yet, I delighted in each song being weaved into the prose. 'Eight days a week' or, more accurately, six performances a week, this show is a must see!"
Third Coast Review- Recommended
"...In a credit to Cloran's thoughtful process, the show, a healthy two hours and forty minutes with one intermission, never feels disjointed or interrupted by the nearly two dozen Beatles songs slipped in between couplets. That's right, the rest of the show, around the fringe, bellbottoms and platform shoes (costumes by Carmen Alatorre), is performed in original Shakespearean dialogue! And I'm telling you, it works. That's a great deal thanks to a hard-working cast, not a dud among them. Many of the actors take on double duty over the course of the show, and their versatility is truly impressive."
Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended
"...I don’t want to spoil the party, but I’ve got a feeling you already suspect this anyway: Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s buoyant and vibrant new production of As You Like It, set in the 1960s and using the timeless catalog of songs by The Beatles as its musical accompaniment, is one of the most original and joyful plays you could ever want to attend. This brainchild from director Daryl Cloran and Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Festival is a taste of honey: the first absolutely must-see show of the season, a production that really needs to move to Broadway after its run so that its genius and infectious exuberance can play to a larger audience."
PicksInSix- Highly Recommended
"...This colorful, creative, exhilarating production—which owes its’ origin to Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in Vancouver and presented at Chicago Shakes in association with Edmonton’s The Citadel Theatre and Winnipeg’s Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre—weaves together a dazzling cast that includes principals from the original production and top Chicago and regional talent. The result is quite simply ecstasy on Navy Pier!"
Picture This Post- Highly Recommended
"...After a year and a half of virtual theater, this writer found herself tearing up at the community forming to celebrate this live performance. Judging by the audience response, it’s easy to see that this writer was not the only one swept up in the story and experience."