Theatre Critic and Journalist

Review: Twelfth Night, The Space

Review: Twelfth Night, The Space

Published in Time Out, 28.12.2010

From its first line to its less quotable last, vowing to “strive to please you every day,” Twelfth Night is well-suited to a music hall interpretation. Alongside drag-acts and drunken clowns, sing-a-longs and costume confusion, there’s even an emcee of sorts in Feste, Shakespeare’s most musical fool. Director Chris Chambers, however, has not delivered the goods here.

Rather than embracing vaudeville, Chambers recalls it haphazardly, sporadically remembering his brief. Instead, we get yet another generic ’20s version, all boaters and bow-ties and bland ubiquity. It’s like a garden show on the run, lost and dishevelled.

In fact, Chambers only rebels against the obvious when he misses it completely. Viola is waistcoated before asking for concealment, Feste points on his first ‘by the church’ and Michael Good’s Malvolio demonstrates ‘her great P’s’ with a disgusted sniff, as if Olivia had pissed into the envelope.

Twelfth Night can arguably survive without mirth, melancholy or music, but it cannot lose love. Here, hearts flicker only during explicit declarations, making a madwoman of Olivia, an obsessive of Orsino and an opportunistic sex-pest of Malvolio.

Photograph: Another Way Theatre

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