After huge success of Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing, director Christopher Luscombe’s has brought the highly funny and exceptionally comical Twelfth Night to the RSC’s stage this Christmas.
Known for being one of Shakespeare’s funniest plays, Twelfth Night is a tale of unrequited love. When twins are separated by a shipwreck and washed up on the shore of a strange land, they believe one another to be dead. Viola disguises herself as her brother Sebastian and falls in love with Orsino but can’t tell him because she is dressed as a boy. There is a multitude of love triangles and mistaken identities, causing a brilliantly eventful storyline of twists and turns.
Kara Tointon plays the elegant and sophisticated Olivia, Tointon’s characterisation is strong and she captures Olivia’s superiority superbly. Being set in the Victorian era, the play reflects Queen Victoria and her Indian attendant Abdul Karim. Olivia is in desperate mourning, yet is kept entertained by Beruce Khan who plays the brilliantly witty and highly musical Feste.
Esh Alladi takes on the role of Sebastian and opposite him Dinita Gohil as his sister Viola, the brother and sister are both forced apart at after the shipwreck and go on their own journeys. Opening the play, Gohil appears on stage, beautifully draped in a sari before we are introduced to Orsino played by Nicholas Bishop. Surrounded by the gold interior of his art studio, Bishop depicts the character excellently with a huge emphasis on his flamboyantly romantic approach.
Christopher Luscombe’s direction enhances the clarity of the play, the distinct characters are portrayed masterly by the cast and their approach to the dialogue keeps the story moving forward at a good pace. Designer Simon Higlett has done a marvellous job creating a lavish set that both reflects the era and transitions smoothly from scene to scene. With the interjection of Nigel Hess’ witty songs that add a tremendous amount of humour to the piece, the cast work together as an ensemble remarkably to create a joyous piece of theatre.
The stand out performance belongs to Adrian Edmondson who brings new life to the extraordinary character of Malvolio. He pitches the comedy timing exceptionally and has the audience in hysterics as he heightens the humour with added musical flair.
The combination of an excellent cast, musical numbers sang with gusto and a set that boasts a visual feast for the eyes, Twelfth Night is a glorious Victorian romp that has been crafted splendidly by Christopher Luscombe.
Twelfth Night is on at the RSC in Stratford-Upon-Avon until the 24th of February 2018, tickets and information can be found here.