As You Like It, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Marianne Gunn

Four stars

The Forest of Arden has scarce looked so inviting, as in this in-the-round production directed by Peter Collins. The entrances and exits of Shakespeare's pastoral comedy are vital to the plot and the four doors, at each corner of the studio space, are used to great effect. The set design also enhances the pace in the general gadding about involved with the cross-dressing disguises and clever wordplay of deceit.

Rustic charm is in abundance, surrounded by eclectic audience seating, the camp-fire atmosphere created at the end of the first half was hugely enhanced by Fraser Milroy's simple yet exquisite lighting design and the masterful musical direction of Lewis Anderson. Milroy's lighting concept for the final scenes is also breathtaking.

On opening night, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland acting students in Cast A were on cracking form, although a slightly slicker running time would probably be desirable this week. As young Orlando, Conor Hinds struck a fine figure from the opening wrestling match to his humorous love-note littering to fair Rosalind. Charlotte Driessler was an amusing and assured leading lady, although it was in gawkish Ganymede's guise that she really seemed to click.

The ensemble cast was without a weak link - especially pleasing after a string of RCS shows that have been hampered by poor diction. The male members of the cast are able to show off their versatility - some even triple cast - whereas the females have to content themselves with alternate shows. Colleen Cameron, who is Cast B's Rosalind, steals a scene as one of Corin's Sheep so it will be interesting to see what she makes of one of the bard's most plucky female roles.

Run ends Thursday