Twelfth Night (Brockley Jack) 15 October

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twelfthnight

Yes.  Someone said that Shakespeare very nearly invented the musical with Twelfth Night.  So here the scenery and props consisted of a grand piano (without strings).  And it didn’t play.  Well it wouldn’t, without strings.  But Cesario-Viola could use one of the legs as a weapon.  She (Amelia Clay) would in any case have done well to wave her arms about less.

As played by Kate Sawyer, apart from stumbling on her utensil in:

O, sir, I will not be so hard-hearted; I will give out divers schedules of my beauty: it shall be inventoried, and every particle and utensil labelled to my will: as, item, two lips, indifferent red; item, two grey eyes, with lids to them; item, one neck, one chin, and so forth. Were you sent hither to praise me?

Olivia was from the beginning a woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown whereas surely she is supposed to be in control at the beginning–as above–at least.  The nadir (for me) was when she rugby-tackled Cesario to prevent him escaping…There is supposed to be a contrast between the noble/romantic and the slapstick characters; at least, I think so.

She [Olivia, if she was mad] could not sway her house, command her followers,
Take and give back affairs and their dispatch
With such a smooth, discreet and stable bearing
As I perceive she does:

Well, if that’s what the man says that’s what we ought to see.

Probably the best performance was from Daniel Millar as Malvolio, played as a bluff North Country type undermined by delusions of grandeur.  In fact, it was probably too easy to sympathise with him.  I found there was quite a lot of Feste’s (Gareth Fordred) quick-fire repartee I didn’t catch.  If it’s terminally embarrassing, then just cut it–quite a lot was cut anyway.

Still, let’s be positive to end this posting.  In the wonderful Act 2 Sc 4

Viola

She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i’ the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
We men may say more, swear more: but indeed
Our shows are more than will; for still we prove
Much in our vows, but little in our love.

Duke Orsino

But died thy sister of her love, my boy?

Viola

I am all the daughters of my father’s house,
And all the brothers too:

Orsino and Viola ended up almost in a clinch and almost kissing, which was quite effective.  Not sure why Orsino (Mark Leipacher) was dressed in a white pyjamas-cum-straitjacket thing though…

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