Can’t live with him, can’t live without him.
Last night I got to see the What You Will Equity Co-Op Production of Twelfth Night.
Now, comedy is difficult at the best of times, but throw in Shakespearean language with outdated terms and you have a recipe for disaster… yet the cast saved it.
On a whole they were strong across the board and even though the audience wasn’t laughing out loud, you could tell people enjoyed themselves. Also, my favourite thing about Shakespeare is his timelessness. The themes he wrote about back in the 1600s are still alive and well today.
His words inspire me. In fact the first short film I produced was Shakespearean.
Back to my subjective review:
If you’ve seen Amanda Bynes in She’s the Man then you know the concept, but before you go see the play – know at least a little bit about the story! It helps. It always helps with Shakespeare but in this case, it really helps.
There is a lot of mistaken identity and people playing tricks on one another and it is easy to get lost, even though Shakespeare lets the audience in on everything by including people in the play who ‘don’t get it’ and therefore things are explained if not once than a few times.
Like I said the cast did quite well, but on the whole it is not a bust-a-gut comedy. Perhaps if the piece was done snappier and more quickly in general it would help things along. I once had a director constantly yell, “FASTER! LOUDER!” (and it seemed to work)
The stand-outs, to me, were the women. Lori Triolo was fantastic of course, but so was Bronwen Smith. There were times when I could only see Bronwen’s back and yet I still felt whatever she was going through – that’s a skill.
Courtney Lancaster was incredible. She is the type of actress I want to be. Versatile. Arresting. And completely present. It wasn’t until intermission that I realized she had also been in The Wild Party, wherein after seeing that show I sang her praises to director Christopher Shyer for as long as he could listen.
The scenes from Twelfth Night between Courtney and Lori were easily my favourite.
Aside from a couple mumbled moments (very few) everyone was clear in both intention and on voice. Unfortunately, with the Jerico Arts Centre being tough to get to by bus, and the show running until 10:43pm, I had to clap and rush.
Much of the length could have been cut by a faster pace and taking out a few of the songs, or a few of the verses within the songs.
But that’s me being nit-picky. If you want to see some good Shakespeare I highly recommend this entertaining and well-told piece.