CWN - News & Information for Coventry & Warwickshire 20x21spacer.gif (59 bytes)What's New?Search CWN

[14 MAY 99] THE BLACKROOM

blackroom-header2.gif (3816 bytes)

The Review : Twelfth Night

[BELGRADE THEATRE : 13 - 29 MAY 1999]

In the wake of ‘Shakespeare In Love’s’ cinematic success, it would seem that a green light has been given to those directors who are adventurous enough to fly in the face of the traditionalists and make the illustrious bard’s words speak to as wide an audience as possible. Such a feat has been achieved in Twelfth Night, Bob Eaton’s latest Shakespearean offering at the Belgrade.

EDDY YORK AS SIR TOBY BELCH (LEFT) AND GRAHAM FELLOWS AS ANDREW AQUECHEEK (RIGHT) IN TWELFTH NIGHT
EDDY YORK AS SIR TOBY BELCH (LEFT) AND GRAHAM FELLOWS
AS ANDREW AQUECHEEK (RIGHT) IN TWELFTH NIGHT

Tearing Shakespeare from his Elizabethan context to recent modern history is not for the faint-hearted. Anomalies exist in the text to trip up such mavericks, but Bob Eaton manages to avoid the obvious traps of straying too far from home, while still injecting humour, wit and passion into this much loved play.

Cathy Ryan’s evocative and economic set places the play firmly in the late sixties. This heady era of music, love and madness turned the world upside down; suddenly youth culture prevailed against the bowler-hatted, pin-striped existence of the establishment. Twelfth Night is heavily dependent on a spot of gender-bendering from Viola (Katy Stephens), so the sixties backdrop, when much of the older generation complained that ‘You can’t tell the girl’s from the boys’ makes ultimate sense.

The famous opening speech ‘If music be the food of love’, sung by Jeremy Harrison’s excellent Duke Orsino is given new meaning, when the character is represented as the trippy, hippie leader of a mythical band called ‘The Dukes of Illyria’.

Old favourites, Sir Toby Belch (Eddy York) and Sir Andrew Aguecheeck, hilariously played by Graham Fellows, are depicted as the Carnaby Street clad, marijuana smokers of the foppishly rich Chelsea set. Feste, the multi-talented John Wild, is a guitar strumming hippy, flitting between impersonations of Russ Abbot, Rigsby in ‘Rising Damp’ to a brilliant Tommy Cooper. All three characters drive the humour and fun of the play beyond all previously set limits to stunning effect. Who would have thought that Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore’s theme tune ‘Goodbyee’ could sit perfectly in Shakespearean surroundings?

Malvolio’s come-uppance is wonderfully achieved with the help of a pair of yellow velvet loon pants and a convincing impersonation of Mick Jagger.

The narrative was clear and direct throughout this heady mix of mistaken identity and unrequited love. The excellent cast swap easily back and forth between singing and playing a variety of instruments in the band, acting and inventing a host of sundry comic characters. The costumes and lighting are a colourful feast for the eyes.

Why pay for the over-priced, often dubious offerings of the Royal Shakespeare Company, who seek to keep our most famous playwright in permanent moth-balls, when a trip to the Belgrade offers such an excellently accessible night’s entertainment. Go on, enjoy yourself and take a trip!

[REVIEW BY PAULINE BLACK - 13 MAY 1999]
  

1x22rule.gif (89 bytes)

ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS TO 120,000 VISITORS PER MONTH

email chris@cwn.org.uk

150x15more.gif (274 bytes)

WHAT'S ON

TWELFTH NIGHT

BELGRADE THEATRE


TWELFTH NIGHT
- THE TEXT




HELP SUPPORT CWN
BUY YOUR BOOKS ONLINE FROM AMAZON
[click on the advert below]


Buy all your books online with Amazon



The Belgrade Theatre - The Nerd : 7 - 12 June 1999



Buy your mailing lists from www.mailing-labels.com

CWN / the blackroom / 14 May 99

1995-2000 Coventry Internet Developments Ltd

This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM