Play's the thing in Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre's toy-strewn, youthful production of As You Like It, currently running in repertory with Hamlet. In the latter, Mary Tuomanen dons the heaviest pair of man-pants in English theater to decry the world's "unweeded garden." But here she goes gamine, frolicking in set designer David Gordon's neatly trimmed forest of Arden as Rosalind, expelled from Duke Frederick's court with her cousin Celia (a sweet Victoria Rose Bonito). Of course, Tuomanen still ends up dressed in boy clothes, but only temporarily, and to comic, rather than tragic, effect.
In Arden, much as at court - where Celia and Rosalind appear inside an oversize gilt picture frame among blocks and stuffed animals - a playground atmosphere pervades. The forest is a backyard-size lawn with a swing, slide, and little pine clusters that serve as cover for peering garden gnomes. Vickie Esposito's costumes echo this theme, with earthy brown bottoms and candy-color tops, as though the actors were wildflowers decorating the grass. Director Carmen Kahn is determined to have fun, bathing the tale in sunlight, and even morose Jaques (Ames Adamson, who also plays the Duke), with his "All the world's a stage," and downer of a "Seven ages of man" speech, is pleasant to have around.