By my troth, an afternoon delight (if you’ve got the energy)
This article is from 2010.
The small cast composing this year’s C Theatre production are really enjoying themselves. They transport Twelfth Night’s faraway kingdom of Illyria to a sexy 1930s London scene, and complete the look with boater hats, black lace, cigarette holders, and of course, jazz. And then, they break down the fourth wall to fill the room with perfectly timed confusion - appearing from all corners, vanishing behind curtains, even crouching around audience members. It’s a slick and fast-paced show they put on, and farcical moments especially, are a delight.
Their Malvolio, with a stony face and cold manner to challenge Alan Rickman, made the play. What’s more they sought to shade the other characters with nuances thoughtful enough to intrigue the Shakespearean connoisseurs in Edinburgh – Olivia has sticky petulance, Sir Toby a fleeting charm, and Feste captures the transition from fool to wit which makes this play so unique. Yet perhaps C Theatre could do with more of this: their energy is engaging, yet in the group scenes this tended to collapse into hyperactivity. Cast doubling also came at the expense of clarity, and given the play’s plot of mistaken identity and multiple disguises, this does not make it so friendly to a first-time audience. Tone down the noise, and give more calmness to the speeches, and there’s a Twelfth Night for everyone to enjoy. But for now, it’s the pure playfulness of this performance which commends it to all Shakespeare lovers.
Venue 34 C Theatre, 0845 260 1234, 13-30 August, 2.15pm, £5.50-9.50