‘Under the Stars with Brews and the Bard: As You Like it’ takes advantage of a quiet DCPA parking lot and atrium

There’s a point at the beginning of Band of Toughs’ version of As You Like It where audience members were wondering what the hell is going on. The production starts out on the fourth level of the Denver Center Performing Arts Complex parking lot — the same place they kicked off the last show of theirs I saw, Nirvamlet, in 2019. As 8 o’clock came, the only action going on was a guy in a rumpled white suit and tophat playing ukulele and singing so faintly that I struggled to hear the tune.

But soon, other cast members start wandering onto the scene, and this interactive, mobile production of one of Shakespeare’s beloved comedies started to resolve itself into something resembling a play.

As they did with Nirvamlet, the “BoTs” theatre collaboratory took over the DCPA space, only this time it was all outdoors. With none of the other theatres currently active under the atrium, BoTs had free rein to take advantage of the vast performing space they’d created from the common areas. The second stop was for us to travel from the parking structure down to the front of the Buell Theatre. There, we start to see the beginning of the show unwind, with the fight between Orlando and Charles played out as a ridiculous slapstick while Rosalind and her BFF Celia watch from one of the Buell’s second-story balconies (maybe the first and last time we’ll see two actors do a costume change up there).

As the action moves to the forest of Arden, we’re led to a sectioned-off outside area down the steps near where the entrance to the Ricketson Theatre used to be and into a welcoming circle with firepits, rugs, Adirondack chairs and a staffed bar.

Things were looking up.

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