This is definitely a bit of a tease of a review, as this production is closing this weekend. However, with this being something of Emma Rice’s farewell letter to The Globe, and it also being freaking amazing, I wanted to pop a few thoughts here.
Twelfth Night follows Viola (Anita-Joy Uwajeh) who is separated from her brother Sebastian (John Pfumojena) which leaves her alone on the island of Illyria. She disguises herself as a man to work in the court of Orsino (Joshua Lacey), who she promptly falls in love with. Orsino himself is hopelessly in love with Olivia (Annette McLaughlin), who has sworn off men, until she lays eyes on Viola.
This is a production which sings, dances and sparkles from the word go. The cast bring Shakespeare’s world to giddy life; it’s laugh-out-loud funny and always a few minutes away from bursting into a song & dance number.
Lez Brotherston’s costume design really adds to the party feel of the piece, and I hope to see Emma Rice direct Shakespeare comedies again in the future as she just seems to understand how to make the text accessible and understandable to all audiences.
The entire cast works incredibly hard to bring the story to life. As Olivia, Annette McLaughlin is great at walking the line between brittle and giddily in love with Cesario. Her reaction upon discovering Viola and Sebastian are twins is quite brilliant. The show is truly stolen by the secondary story-line; of Malvolio (Katy Owen) being brutally teased by Sir Toby Belch (Tony Jayawardena), Maria (Carly Bawden) and, pathetically, Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Marc Antolin). All these actors are brilliant; Owen is tiny and yet owns the stage perfectly, making you feel frustrated and sad for Malvolio all at once (a very different take to Tamsin Greig’s), and Bawden has a beautiful voice also. Le Gateau Chocolat also really owns the stage as Feste, he has an incredible voice and really owns gold glitter.
If you can get your hands on a spare ticket, I would so recommend getting into this wonderful party taking place in The Globe this summer.