Twelfth Night: or What you Will, Fingerless Theatre Co. | Review

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This most recent instalment of Shakespeare’s riotous story of mistaken identity is joyfully camp and more than a little sandy.

When Viola is stranded in a strange place, her family having perished at sea and political turmoil rife, she must dress as a man for safety. She finds a job working for Orsino, who is in love with Olivia, but then Viola falls in love with Orsino, and he falls in love with her while thinking she’s a man, then Olivia also falls in love with her thinking she’s a man. Then Viola’s twin brother Sebastian, who is loved by the pirate Antonio, is found running around on the other side of the island and Olivia’s steward Malvolio is fooled by a cruel prank. It’s bedlam to the end.

I enjoyed director Alex Kendall Robson’s gender-bending take on Viola, Orsino, Sebastian and Olivia’s desperate, confusing tales of love. Jade Fuda as Viola is the standout of the cast, her considerable experience of performing Shakespeare evident in her ease in delivering complex dialogue. Clay Lewis Crighton skilfully straddles two roles as the grieving, uncertain Sebastian and farcical servant Fabian, and Meg Bennetts is a brilliant type-a assistant and scorned lover as Malvolio.

Performing Twelfth Night in-the-round (stage in the middle, surrounded by audience on all sides) gave the story the energy and chaotic feel it needs, but because the stage is on the ground with the audience it also means your view is considerably restricted at times. It can also make it a bit difficult to keep track of the many different characters popping in and out from left, right and centre.

Music and staging are airy and beachy, a huge mound of sand making up the stage and some deck chairs and simple benches adding dimension where needed. I loved Zachary Aleksander’s character, Feste the jester, providing musical interludes throughout; it suited his character and added context and texture to many scenes. Costuming is a little all over the place, some characters wearing everyday outfits that suit the style of their character and others in more costume-y pieces.

Purchase your ticket to Twelfth Night: Or What You Will here.

Twelfth Night: or What you Will, Fingerless Theatre Co. | Tasting Notes

Aussie Season1 to 11 March, Fingerless Theatre Co, Flow Studios, Sydney NSW
Ticket $$31-41
WriterWilliam Shakespeare
DirectorAlex Kendall Robson
Theatre Type & GenrePlay, farce
See it if you likeromcoms, Shakespeare
Other Infoproduced as part of Sydney WorldPride Pride Amplified Program
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