Wirksworth is the stage for Skakespeare’s romantic comedy

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The secret garden of one of Wirksworth’s most impressive buildings was the setting for Shakespeare’s tale of love, deceit and sibling rivalry.

The garden of Symonds House, in the Market Place, was transformed into the Forest of Arden for the Jagged Fence production of As You Like It on Saturday night.

Players dressed as rockers and rollers darted their way through the flower beds in the ornate walled garden as they brought Shakespeare’s comedy to life in the setting of 1960s America.

While listening to Elizabethan verse spoken with an American accent took some getting used to, the energy of the actors and actresses, coupled with their excellent acoustic renditions of classic 60s tunes, breathed new life into the play.

A red lipped Rosalind taunted her lover, Orlando, while pretending to be the know-it-all youth Ganymede – dressed like Marlon Brando in The Wild One. While the saucy shepherdess Phebe scorned her foolish admirer Silvius in a scathing southern drawl.

The intimate venue made the audience feel very much part of the action – no more so than at the end, when unsuspecting onlookers were plucked from the crowd to dance with the members of the cast.

Outdoor performances of As You Like It will continue to be held at 6.30pm tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday nights in the Symonds House garden.

Tickets cost £10 and £7 and are available from Traid Links, in the Market Place, Wirksworth, or by calling 01629 824393.