I am not a regular Shakespeare goer. I love watching the movies and I enjoy reading some of the plays but I’ve only ever seen a couple live on stage. I think if you’re going to see Shakespeare live, try for a comedy and if you’re going to try for a comedy then I heartily recommend the version of Twelfth Night performed by the Festival Players Theatre Company. This performance was hosted in the Cogges Manor barn in Witney, a wonderful, if somewhat eclectic, location - a long walk to a crumbling barn, surely a perfect way to start a summer evening of entertainment.
Twelfth Night tells the tale of Viola (Kirsty Cox) and Sebastien (Paul Thomas), separated by a storm at sea and shipwrecked in Illyria. Viola takes it upon herself to disguise herself as a man, going by the name of Cesario, and go into the service of Orsino (Lane Paul Stuart), Duke of Illyria, who is in love with the widow Olivia (Jasmine Darke). Orsino enlists Cesario to convey his love to the lady Olivia. In the ensuing scenes Olivia falls in love with Cesario while the duke becomes increasingly frustrated at Olvia’s lack of interest in him. In the meantime, Olivia’s Uncle, Sir Toby Belch (Tony Portacio) and his drunken comrade, Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Paul Thomas), spend their time with Maria, Olivia’s lady in waiting, baiting her steward, Malvolio (Terry Ashe).
The paucity of scenery simply added to the charm of this performance; the whole play was performed on a simple stage with a drape background and a bench. The passion of Stuart’s performance as Orsino was wonderful and the ease with which Portacio and Thomas worked together as drunken rogues could not fail to amuse. The scene where Sir Tony, Sir Andrew and Feste (also Stuart) bait Malvolio with a letter supposedly declaring Olivia’s love for him, was particularly well-executed with superb comic timing. Throughout the play there were interludes of music provided by the cast, on guitar, vocals and recorders; Stuart, in particular, has a very fine voice.
Overall, I highly recommend this company’s performance of Twelfth Night. Take wine, take a picnic and enjoy a fine play well-performed.
Yvonne Couch (Unverified), 16/07/12
Ads by Daily Info:
Browse ads by tag:
Review of the Day