Pimlott's lively production mixed traditional costumes with an industrial metallic set and occasional fake snow.

Two young women, one dressed as a boy in Elizabethan costumes, one reads a letter aloud
Rosalind (Niamh Cusack) and Celia (Rachel Joyce) laugh at Orlando's love poems, 1996, Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Photo by Reg Wilson © RSC Browse and license our images


Director Steven Pimlott and designer Ashley Martin-Davis set the action on a bare stage with artificial metal trees. The audience was encouraged to use their imagination: "Ashley Martin-Davis evokes the court through a background of ribbed aluminium, while the forest itself, snow filled in the early scenes, is suggested through silvery poles of Russian birch." Michael Billington, Guardian, 26 April 1996.


In an interview with Robert Smallwood for the programme, Pimlott noted how the constantly changing nature of the play defied interpretation: "it is the sum of its parts, like a jig-saw puzzle".
The critical reception was mixed but the performances were praised, especially Niamh Cusack's unaffected and attractive Rosalind, Liam Cunningham's vigorous Orlando, David Tennant's droll Touchstone and John Woodvine's poignant Jaques.


Designer Ashley Martin-Davis mixed traditional Elizabethan costumes with a minimalist non-naturalistic set. The changing seasons were signposted with rural imagery: "Winter has straightforward snowfalls, but the idea of spring's renewal is given the visual counterpoint of flattened daffodils on the faithful servant Adam's grave; while the play's growing intrigue is accompanied by gradual forestation as silver poles are lowered from the flies (plot and stage thicken together). Graham Hassell, What's On, 30 October 1996. In a departure from Shakespeare's plot, the faithful servant Adam died as Jaques spoke the Seven Ages of Man speech.

A young man looks down on a young boyish woman sprawled on the ground
Orlando (Liam Cunningham), Rosalind (Niamh Cusack) and Celia (Rachel Joyce), 1996, Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Photo by Reg Wilson © RSC Browse and license our images
Theatrical poster for As You Like It 1996 showing the back view of a half-naked woman adjusting her hair



Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Brian Abbott - Dennis

Doreen Andrew - Hymen

Raymond Bowers - Monsieur le Beau, Sir Oliver Martext

Colum Convey - Duke Frederick

Arthur Cox - Corin

Liam Cunningham - Orlando

Niamh Cusack - Rosalind

Simeon Defoe - William

Robert Demeger - Duke Senior

Nathaniel Duncan – Court Lord 1

Susannah Elliott-Knight - Audrey

Colin Farrell - Forest Lord 1

Joseph Fiennes - Silvius

Mark Gillis - Jaques de Boys

Victoria Hamilton - Phoebe

Sebastian Harcombe - Oliver

Rachel Joyce - Celia

Ross O'Hennessy - Charles

Emma Poole - Hisperia

John Quayle - Adam

David Tennant - Touchstone

Simon Westwood - Court Lord 2

Blair Wilson - Amiens

John Woodvine - Jaques





Director – Steven Pimlott

Designer – Ashley Martin-Davis

Lighting Designer – Mimi Jordan Sherin

Music – Jason Carr

Movement – Liz Ranken

Fight arranger – Terry King


The RSC's archive is held at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. You can visit the Library and Archives there to look at production related information, including photos, videos of shows and stage management documents:

Shakespeare Centre Library and Archive homepage

You can search the RSC catalogue here: 

RSC performance database

You may also like