Twelfth Night, Theatre Royal. Norwich
Now here’s a fun night out, with a hugely talented bunch of actors who can sing and seemingly play numerous instruments each, too.
Twelfth Night is one of those jaunty mistaken identities, unrequited love pieces, with a smattering of tragedy and lashings of comedy, often provided by one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters, Sir Toby Belch.
It is always tempting to ‘do different’ with the Bard, and in trying hard to develop a new spin, many companies simply fail to capture the richness of what is in front of them.
This production, from the Watermill Theatre in Berkshire, anchors the action in the Jazz Age but stays very true to the principal themes of excess, vanity and loyalty.
Sure there are wonderful Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald songs, but they add rather than detract from the intricate plot.
Aruhan Galieva is glorious as a bossy Olivia, Victoria Blunt is a naughty Maria, Lauryn Redding captures Sir Toby Belch’s slightly cunning, self serving character and watch out for an over the top Malvolio by Peter Dukes.
This is an energetic, quirky piece which will appeal to die-hard Shakespearian fans but will also, hopefully, attract new supporters as well.