Thursday, 30 January 2014

Twelfth Night

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars
When Shakespeare wrote the lines that opens his island-set rom-com 
about how “If music be the food of love, give me excess of it,” it's 
unlikely that he envisaged a free jazz cacophony to accompany Orsino's 
attempts to make order of the words he's just plucked from the air, all 
while sipping a cup of tea. Yet that's exactly how Sean Holmes' 
long-running production of Twelfth Night begins in an audacious 
sound-led production for the inventive Filter company.

What follows is a fast-moving ninety-minute romp that's more akin to 
1980s alternative cabaret or the sort of comic free-for-alls pioneered 
by the late Ken Campbell's Roadshow, but which somehow manages to keep 
the essence of its source intact.

So the storm is reported on the Shipping Forecast heard on a transistor 
radio, while clothes and hats are borrowed from the audience to allow 
Sarah Belcher's shipwrecked Viola to transform herself into Cesario. 
There's a contest of sorts as the audience attempt to lob bobbles onto 
Aguecheek's Velcroed-up head-gear, while the entire front row are led 
onstage in a conga prior to a pizza delivery and a tequila tasting. 
Fergus O'Donnell's lust-driven Malvolio, meanwhile, strips down to a 
pair of tight golden pants to accompany his yellow socks.

Originally commissioned for the Royal Shakespeare Company's 2006 
Complete Works season and re-directed for this latest tour by Filter's 
Oliver Dinsdale and Ferdy Roberts, the show is performed by a cast of 
six, who augment the live band that play Tom Haines and Ross Hughes' 
live score. This  is deconstruction at its most appealingly madcap, 
which ends with a quasi-swing finale that suggests the party has only 
just begun.

The Herald, January 30th 2013

ends

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