Writer: William Shakespeare
Director: Scott Ellis
Reviewer: Emily Hall
Director Scott Ellis brings Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night to King’s Theatre Edinburgh, an elegant venue for an inelegant play which thrives on the humour of mayhem and nonsense. Somehow, this especially bawdy interpretation of the literary classic fits beautifully anyways; key characters delivering moving renditions of stunning monologues faithfully to the text, while others use physical comedy or suggestion faithful to the spirit of Shakespeare.
The plot focuses on young Viola, lost to her twin brother in a storm and masquerading as a man abroad. No one falls in love with the right person, no one knows which twin is which and before it all gets sorted out a whimsical character expertly executes a stellar if not overdone practical joke. However, this production isn’t your par-for-the-course Shakespeare.
Merely Theatre’s gender blind casting worked beautifully with Twelfth Night. The jokes, populated by women in men’s roles managed to hilariously impress the sentiment of “boys being boys,” adding an extra layer of comedy to each line. The subtle contrast between Emmy Rose’s performance as Viola pretending to be a man and Tamara Astor’s performance as Feste, a man, made for delightful nuance.
Though it was more comedy of circumstance than commentary on how women see men, Emmy Rose inspires laughter on both points. She single-handedly puts the romance in this OG romcom with her touching monologue delivered to Orsino and picks the comedy right back up again afterwards.
Sarah Peachy also does a brilliant job as Olivia. She has the sass, the ego and the lovestruck madness all down pat and most importantly the personality that will keep you captivated. Her chemistry on stage with Robery Myles, both in his role as Malvolio and as Sebastian highlights her incredible comedic instincts.
While just a few jokes seemed a bit overstated or forced, you’ll forgive them once you hear the children’s laughter. The two hour production runs at 7:30pm on a school night, but the audience is dotted with children following the action no less raptly than their adult counterparts. In the end, the outrageous drama outshines the modern references when Robert Myles practically steals the show playing Malvolio.
Between Scott Ellis’ intuitive interpretation of Shakespeare’s funniest moments and the ingenious character acting this isn’t a show to be missed.
Reviewed on 21 September 2017 | Image: Contributed