Writer: William Shakespeare
Director: Lata Nobes
This performance of Twelfth Night begins in a rave, where a very unimpressed Olivia (Katy Reynard) throws a drink in Duke Orsino (George Seymours) face. Sneaky Rhombus Collective aims to present a modern twist on the classic tale, combining contemporary understanding of gender and sexuality with this classic tale of mistaken identity. Some of it is very funny and well done, but is a futuristic backdrop, techno music in the interval and a River Island wardrobe enough to call this a new adaption?
Viola (Roze Elisa) arrives shipwrecked at Illyria, believing her brother (and only surviving family) to be dead. She disguises herself as a man named Cesario to get a job working for Duke Orsino and is tasked with relaying his messages of love to Olivia, a melancholy young woman who does not share the Duke’s affections. Viola quickly realises she is falling in love with the Duke, while Olivia falls in love with Cesario. Meanwhile, Viola’s brother Sebastian is rescued by a pirate (Cal Chapman) who falls in love with him. Mistaken identity, miscommunication and general mayhem ensues.
The cast stick to Shakespeare’s original story and script, while the costumes vary from 17-year-old at a warehouse party style hoodies to non-descript dungarees and the worst neon knee-high socks in Britain. Trance music and drunken dancing begins. The show against a backdrop of multicoloured octagons, which adds a futuristic touch. The octagon backdrop also has a little light show in the intervall, which is fun to watch.
The only other props are some stools and a cardboard box decorated with the word ‘twat’. The empty stage doesn’t pose a challenge for the actors and works well for the performance, although some lighting mishaps occasionally blind the audience with occasional rogue spotlight.
The cast manage to highlight this script’s humour in a way that’s accessible without being overacted. Olivia Wormald (Feste) is the master of multiple instruments including a violin and accordion. Her strong vocals mingled with old fashioned folk songs are a highlight in this show.
Aptly named Christian Loveless (Malvolio) is hilariously pompous and engages with the audience directly in a way which makes him weirdly likeable. Cal Chapman (Antonio) gives a really strong performance as the lovelorn sea captain and his performance really highlights just how much that character is screwed over in this story. Drew Queripel (Sir Andrew Aguecheek) is also really good in his slightly pathetic but ultimately loveable portrayal of a medieval ‘lad’
This isn’t really a modern adaptation of Twelfth Night: it’s the traditional story told in modern dress. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s enjoyable, funny and includes some really good live music.
Runs till the 25 January 2020